December 9, 2014
Summerfield appeared in Dare County Superior Court on Tuesday to listen
to legal motions that relate to his upcoming first-degree murder trial.
Summerfield appears briefly in court; murder
trial starts Feb. 2 and may be televised
BY CATHERINE KOZAK
Since his last appearance three months ago, his neatly trimmed
dark hair has grown a little longer. But he still wore the orange
jumpsuit issued to him by his jailers.
The next time the
29-year-old Ashland, Ohio resident sits in the courtroom, it will be in
front of a jury of his peers – and likely, a number of television
cameras. And he most certainly will be neatly dressed in a suit and
His trial, which will take one to two weeks, is scheduled to start on Feb. 2.
is accused of stabbing and strangling the mother of his child in 2012
during a July Fourth vacation on Hatteras Island. Prosecutors decided
last year that he will not face a death sentence.
Jackenheimer, also from Ashland, was last seen alive on the night of
July 3, chasing ghost crabs with her two children. Summerfield later
dropped the children off with relatives in Ohio and disappeared.
13-year-old girl, Jackenheimer’s daughter from a previous
relationship, and the 3-year-old boy, her son with Summerfield,
were unharmed. He was eventually tracked down and arrested on Aug. 15
in an Ohio motel room.
After a frantic search by law
enforcement officials and friends and family, Jackenheimer’s body was
found on July 14 in the brush off a Frisco cul-de-sac. She was
Summerfield, who has been held without bond at Dare
County Detention Center, did not speak during the brief morning
hearing, during which special prosecutor H.P. Williams read a list of
pre-trial motions to Superior Court Judge Jerry Tillett. The judge
ruled one-by-one to either deny or allow each motion.
of 30 motions, most dealing with evidence, were filed by Summerfield’s
attorneys, Samuel Dixon and Jackson Warmack, both from Edenton. Several
others were also filed by Williams.
Warmack said after the hearing that there were no surprises in the judge’s rulings or Williams’ responses.
“It was routine,” he said.
sides reiterated that they will submit discovery by Jan. 5, although
there was a brief discussion about the timeliness of opinions from
Dixon said that his intention is to meet the deadline, but he had understood he had until then.
“I am just saying that we can’t comply by Jan. 5 if we don’t have anything to respond to,” Williams told the judge.
Tillett ruled that the state will have 15 days to respond once the defense attorneys submit the information.
was appointed last year to try the case because District Attorney
Andrew Womble had briefly represented Summerfield when he was serving
as the district’s Public Defender.
No family members were in
the courtroom on Tuesday. Williams said later that he had spoken with
Jackenheimer’s family, but he told them that the hearing was
inconsequential and not worth the drive from Ohio.
Court Judge Jerry Tillett said after the hearing that he expects that
the trial will be televised. Under North Carolina law, he said, cameras
are allowed in the courtroom unless there is a specific reason to bar