Austin trial continued

TAYLOR COUNTY—The trial for Marvin R. Austin’s Taylor County Animal Neglect case has been continued, according to officials.

Special Prosecutor Matthew Hickman, who is representing the State of West Virginia in the matter for Harrison County Prosecutor Rachel Romano, reported that due to issues with the case, it has been postponed and a date has yet to be set.

“We had some complications come up within the eleventh hour and that caused the trial to be pushed back, but that is all I can really say about the matter,” he said in a phone interview on Monday afternoon.

According to Taylor County Circuit Clerk Vonda Reneman, she received word shortly before 1:00 p.m. on Monday afternoon that the case had been continued.

She revealed that some motions had been made in the case and Special Judge Thomas A. Bedell, who serves at Harrison County’s Chief Circuit Court Judge, had entered orders, but she could not indicate what those order were.

The trial was originally set for jury selection to begin this morning at 9:00 a.m. and would continue through tomorrow and Friday. Hickman said that as of yet, no date has been determined for the trial.

“There will be at least one more pre-trial hearing before a trial date is set,” Hickman said.

There was no word on when that hearing might be set for.

Marvin R. Austin, 67, of Thornton, has been charged with 22 counts of misdemeanor cruelty to animals, after a search and seizure took place of animals from a farm, belonging to Marvin “Marty” and Bonnie Austin, in April, where 20 horses were taken by multiple animal rescue groups from the farm to receive treatment.

A second seizure then was made to remove the remaining animals from the property.

Initially Grace Elaine Austin, 20, Marvin’s daughter, had been charged with one count of misdemeanor cruelty to animals, but that charge has since been dropped and her case dismissed.

Information pertaining to future hearings and a possible trial date will be shared as that news becomes available.


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