The second trial of a Desha County man accused of killing a Pine Bluff teenager in 2006 is on hold after a court ruling this week.
Tenth Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Thomas Deen said attorneys for Kenneth Ray Osburn filed a motion with the court asking for a forensic mental examination for their client, and that motion was granted by Circuit Judge Sam Pope.
Osburn is charged with capital murder in the Aug. 27, 2006, death of Casey Crowder, whose body was found Sept. 2, 2006, with a black zip tie around her neck.
Osburn was found guilty by an Ashley County Circuit Court jury in 2008 and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, but that sentence was overturned by the Arkansas Supreme Court in 2009. The high court ruled that Osburn’s rights were violated when he was questioned by investigators who continued to talk to him after he told them he wanted an attorney.
The trial had been moved out of Desha County after attorneys for Osburn argued that he could not receive a fair trial inside the county.
Osburn was identified as a suspect two days after Crowder’s body was found and he was interviewed twice on Sept. 4, 2006, the first time by Special Agents Rick Newton and David Chastain of the Arkansas State Police, the second time by Chastain and FBI Special Agent Boyd Boshears.
In granting Osburn’s appeal, the state Supreme Court noted that during the second interview, Osburn denied any involvement in the slaying and asked for an attorney.
“Despite that request however, the interview continued,” Associate Justice Paul Danielson wrote in the divided court ruling.
Osburn was arrested Sept. 28, 2006, and taken to a shed on then sheriff-elect Jim Snyder’s property, where he again was questioned by Newton and Boshears.
“Again, Agents Newton and Boshears attempted to obtain a confession from Osburn and according to Agent Newton, used various tactics and investigative techniques in an attempt to ‘change his demeanor.’ While the transcript and recording of the interview reveal at one point Osburn asked the agents to call his lawyer, the interview continued,” Danielson said in the court ruling.
In February 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would not review the Arkansas Supreme Court ruling as it had been requested to do by the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office.
Deen said Thursday he did not know when the trial will be rescheduled.
Osburn is being held without bond at the Ashley County Detention Center.