A Miller County judge recently issued an order putting off jury selection in a wrongful death suit involving Chubby Cheeks liquor store in Texarkana, Ark.
Miller County Circuit Judge Kirk Johnson granted a defense motion to put off a Jan. 11 trial setting last week. Johnson also set the case for a pretrial hearing Jan. 7.
The family of Josh Bishop, 28, filed suit against Chubby Cheeks, father and son owners Allen Rogers and Lane Rogers and liquor store employee Sammie Townes in late 2014. The complaint accuses the defendants of beating Bishop and Westly Attaway, 34, after handcuffing them at gunpoint Jan. 25, 2014. The two men had been drinking bottles of stolen liquor in a wooded area when they were allegedly confronted.
Bishop died Feb. 23, 2014, two days after having surgery to repair jaw fractures he allegedly suffered at the hands of the Chubby Cheeks defendants. Bishop’s family claims the death was a result of the beating he suffered, while the defendants claim Bishop died of a prescription drug overdose that isn’t their fault.
In its motion for a delay in the Jan. 11 setting, Chubby Cheeks’ lawyers complain they need more time to investigate the circumstances surrounding Attaway’s death Dec. 8. Attaway was fatally stabbed during a confrontation with a private security in downtown Shreveport, La., according to an earlier press release from Shreveport police. According to Shreveport PD, the security guard suspected Attaway was trying to break into a building and informed him he had called police. The security guard reported that he defended himself with a knife when Attaway attacked him.
The defense’s motion states more time is needed “in light of recent developments.”
“The circumstances surrounding Attaway’s death, as presently understood, are strikingly similar to defendant’s theory of this case,” the motion states. “At trial, defendants will introduce evidence showing that Attaway initiated the physical altercation Jan. 25, 2014 which forced defendants to respond in self-defense.”
Johnson’s notes concerning the Jan. 7 pretrial hearing state that he will hear arguments concerning all pretrial motions and set a new date for trial that day.