The first-degree murder trial for Jeffrey Wade Chapman that was scheduled to start next Monday has been postponed. It is now schedule to start Aug. 18 in Barton County District Court. A pre-trial hearing is set for May 9.
Chapman is charged with premeditated, intentional murder in the Nov. 11, 2011, death of 25-year-old Damon Galyardt, whose body was found that morning by hunters southwest of Great Bend. Authorities said Galyardt’s body had been moved to that location after he was shot to death.
At last report, District Judge Ron Svaty had not ruled on a motion for a change of venue, nor is there a ruling on a request from Chapman’s attorney to allow a professional tattoo artist to remove or cover a prominent tattoo across his neck, with the word “murder” spelled in reverse letters. The defense is asking that the trial be moved to another county because the case is widely known locally and that may unfairly influence potential jurors.
No reason was given for the new trial date, which was entered into the public access database at the Barton County Courthouse on Thursday. The Barton County Attorney’s Office referred questions to the Kansas Attorney General’s Office, which is handling the prosecution, but repeated called to the Attorney General’s Office in Topeka have not been returned.