Woman charged with 2004 cold case murder appears in court for pretrial hearing

Local News
Rebecca Smith Haynie in court for pretrial hearing facing charges for 2004 murder of her ex-husband

A Columbus cold case saw its first day in court nearly 14 years after the crime.

The first pre-trial hearing in the cold case murder of William Kirby Smith went before Superior Court Judge Gil McBride in Columbus Thursday.

Rebecca Smith Haynie was arrested for her husband’s murder in 2014. She appeared in court next to Donald Keith Phillips, who also faces murder charges in the case.

Haynie’s case dates back to 2004 when Smith was found dead at his auto shop, Kirby’s Speed Shop. 

Since 2004, the murder went cold and a national TV show picked up the story. 

The defense says this case will be difficult since it’s years old and received national recognition.

“Witnesses pass away, memories fade, evidence can go missing or unaccounted for, and when that happens it rocks the justice system to it’s core. When you have people who are facing life in prison, with no evidence that directly ties them to a crime, but the speculation and conjecture of those who want to make a spectacle of it,” says Haynie’s defense attorney, Jason Sheffield.

The defense filed several motions during Thursday’s hearing.

The most notable is the speedy trial violation.

“The nature of a speedy trial claim is two fold: one is a statutory filing and another is constitutional, but both of them essentially say that because of the time delay, or because of other issues that have occurred over time, that those issues have caused her prejudice, and she is entitled to a fair trial, and if we can’t resolve that prejudice, then the only decision that the court can make is to dismiss the charges outright,” says Sheffield.

The defense also filed a motion to preserve evidence since this is an older case.

The prosecution filed a motion to dismiss the speedy trial violation.

The next hearing is scheduled for August 1. 

Stay with News Three for updates.

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