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Trial in death of Mariah Woods delayed until 2022

Published: Aug. 11, 2021 at 6:44 PM EDT
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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - The trial of the man accused of murdering an Onlsow County toddler has now been delayed until March 21, 2022 after a hearing Wednesday morning.

The news of another delay in the proceedings has both community members and law enforcement that worked on the case disappointed.

Earl Kimrey is facing charges for the death of 3-year-old Mariah Woods in 2017. Kimrey was the Wood’s mother’s live-in boyfriend at the time of her disappearance which sparked a massive search effort.

The toddlers body was found in a creek in Pender County. The case has left scars in the community that continue to go unhealed as the proceedings drag out.

“It makes me scared as a parent having two daughters. You can’t really trust people with your kids. This generation that we’re growing up in is totally different,” said Miranda Morgan, a nearby resident in the area of Onslow County where Woods and her mother used to live.

Onslow County Sheriff Hans Miller, responded to the judges ruling saying that while he feels the best decision was made ultimately there is some frustration as the delays in the trial keep piling up, and “as time goes on sometimes memories fade.”

Mariah woods (pictured).
Mariah woods (pictured).(WITN News)

The delay comes because Kimrey’s defense team is busy preparing for another murder trial. Defense attorney Wally Paramore noted that it would be “impossible” to effectively work two murder cases at once. He also mentioned the passing of his mother recently attributed to his inability to perform effective litigation on both cases.

Brooke Mangum the second defense attorney representing Kimrey said that COVID-19 restrictions have hindered investigators from thoroughly questioning Kimrey because of the strict rules within the correctional facilities.

“I believe that it’s not that the defense attorneys have not been doing their job, we’ve not been able to. So based the fact that I have a case and with this new order the North Carolina Supreme Court says that lawyers need time to do their work,” said Mangum.

An administrative status hearing for the case will be held on December 13, 2021. Pretrial motions must be filed on February 14, 2022. The trial is set to begin on March 21, 2022.

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