DEKALB COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — A woman accused of pushing a woman off a cliff to her death in Little River Canyon National Park was in court Thursday.
DeKalb County authorities allege that 43-year-old Loretta Carr killed Mary Isbell in October 2021.
News 19 covered Carr’s preliminary hearing on Aug. 2 but the first judge in the case granted Carr’s attorney’s request to close all pretrial matters. That meant reporters were not allowed to report on anything that came out of the preliminary hearing. However, no such order was ever filed in the court record.
Thursday we learned that the case has since been assigned to DeKalb County Circuit Judge Andrew Hairston.
Hairston said, on the record, in capital murder cases he usually orders that media be allowed to set up cameras in the courthouse lobby and parking lot for coverage purposes.
He also stated that the courtroom was open to the public but no audio or video recording would be allowed, which is a rule in many of the courthouses in North Alabama.
There was no objection by either the defense or prosecution as to the judge’s plan to enter the order.
Following those announcements Judge Hairston heard the defense’s arguments to allow Carr to visit one of the crime scenes relevant to the case against her: Mary Isbell’s mobile home.
This motion is normally filed post-indictment and Carr’s trial has not yet gone to grand jury.
Defense attorney Jeff Montgomery says they made the request early because Isbell’s mobile home is currently sitting unoccupied so they’d like to examine things before someone enters without permission and compromises the crime scene.
There was no opposition to that motion for the reasons cited.
Carr’s attorneys also filed a motion for a bond hearing. Judge Hairston says he’ll take that up in October.
Meanwhile, Carr’s co-defendant and daughter, Jessie Kelly is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on September 6.