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Hall County Superior Court trials suspended until April 3 due to coronavirus

No jury trials will be held in Hall County Superior Court until April 3 because of coronavirus concerns, Chief Judge Kathlene Gosselin ordered Friday, March 13.

That includes a trial that had been scheduled for DeMarvin Bennett, 24, who was charged with murder in the February 2019 shooting death of local businessman and philanthropist James Jackson Hough. Hough was killed in the parking lot of the CVS Pharmacy on Park Hill Drive in Gainesville.

A new date hasn’t been scheduled, District Attorney Lee Darragh said.

Also, no jurors or grand juror will report during that time, according to the “judicial emergency” order.

“Furthermore, civil or non-essential matters will be limited by the courts during this same time period,” the order states.

“Essential matters include temporary protective orders, cases involving domestic violence or other immediate danger to persons and jail matters.”

Also, arraignments scheduled in Hall County State Court or Dawson County Probate Court are canceled until April 3.

The order states: “The nature of this emergency is the continued transmission of coronavirus/COVID-19 throughout Hall County and the potential infection of those who are required to appear in our courts and interact with large groups due to jury service, including grand jury service, or other large, non-essential calendars.”

If the state of emergency extends past April 3, the court “will make a determination of available alternative remedies for the conduct of court business, as necessary,” Gosselin’s order states.