Commonwealth’s Attorney changes hands amid high profile cases
Story by Ashley Traylor, Editor-in-Chief
Dennis Foust unseated Mark Blankenship for District 42 Commonwealth’s Attorney, with 59.19 percent of the total vote.
District 42 includes Calloway County and Marshall County. Blankenship had the majority of the votes in Calloway County- 5,814 compared to Foust’s 4,492- but Foust defeated Blankenship with Marshall County’s vote.
In Marshall County, Foust received about 5,500 more votes than Blankenship. The votes totaled 9,080 for Foust and 3,545 for Blankenship in that county.
Blankenship had two high profile criminal trials on his hands: the Pascasio Pacheco murder trial, which could be the first death penalty case in Calloway County in 100 years and the Marshall County High School shooting case, for which the next pretrial conference is scheduled for March 2019.
Pacheco is accused of killing his aunt and uncle and setting their Calloway County house on fire, which eventually killed two children in 2015.
The trial is expected to begin in early 2019.
The Jan. 23 shooting at Marshall County High School killed two 15-year-old students, Preston Cope and Baily Holt, and injured more than a dozen others.
Foust said he plans to immediately immerse himself into the Marshall County case, and he has been monitoring the case since the beginning.
“As for further plans or strategies in the case, it would neither be ethical nor would it be prudent to discuss any plans or strategies for the case,” Foust said. “However, I do know the direction in which I will take the case.”
Blankenship said before the election, he assigned the trial responsibilities to two of his assistants, in the event he was not re-elected. He said this was done so that the case would not be continued and could proceed regardless of the election outcome. However, he said a new Commonwealth’s Attorney could employ new staff, meaning the case would be continued.
As for the Marshall case, Blankenship was hoping to set the trial date during the pretrial conference in March. By this date, he said evidence supporting charges or evidence in police custody that helps the defense should be completed and any pretrial motions will be heard.
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