Man charged in Madison County beheading facing 2021 trial date, other high profile cases in flux

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. — We are seeing movement in three high profile cases in North Alabama. The defendants include a double murder suspect, a Huntsville police officer and the 10-term sheriff in Limestone County.

Yoni Aguilar was in court Friday for a status conference that was aimed at figuring out a trial date.

Aguilar and Israel Palomino are charged with killing Oralia Mendoza and beheading her 13-year-old daughter, Mariah Lopez in June 2018.

Attorneys in the case agreed February 2021 could work for a trial date.

There is a delay in the case of Huntsville Police Officer William Darby, who was charged with murder in August 2018 for the on-duty shooting of Jeffery Parker at Parker’s home, in April 2018.

Darby was set to go on trial Monday, but his lawyers had asked for a continuance in January citing schedule conflicts.

Madison County Circuit Judge Donna Pate officially granted the continuance on Friday. The judge said the case will be set on a future, so far unspecified, docket.

Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely is due in court Monday, two weeks before his trial on theft and ethics charges is due to begin.

But Blakely’s trial date is also now in doubt after his lawyers requested a continuance.

Blakely’s trial is set to begin March 9 and nearly 500 would-be jurors have been summoned. Blakely was indicted in August 2019. He remains in office handling his sheriff’s duties while under indictment.

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