BENTONVILLE -- The jury trial for a Rogers man accused of stabbing another man to death is being postponed nearly a year because of covid-19.
Anthony Wayne Ballett, 40, is charged with capital murder, which is punishable by death or life imprisonment without parole. He previously pleaded not guilty to the charge.
He is accused of killing 25-year-old Keundra Allen.
Ballett's jury trial was scheduled to begin Oct. 19. Benton County Circuit Judge Brad Karren held a hearing Friday on the request by Ballett's defense attorneys to delay the trial.
A motion filed by the defense states the covid-19 pandemic has hampered the ability to prepare for the trial. Ballett's attorneys have had only one in-person meeting with him while the rest of their communications were done via the internet, video link or through a glass partition, according to the motion.
The conditions haven't allowed for full, open discussions between Ballett and his attorneys, according to the motion.
The covid-19 outbreak in the Benton County Jail has made it problematic for a defense expert to have contact with Ballett, according to the motion. A masked mental health professional was required to submit to a covid test before being allowed an in-person meeting with Ballett, according to the motion.
Shannon Jenkins, spokeswoman for the Benton County Sheriff's Office, said last month of 605 jail inmates tested for the virus, 48 women and 10 men tested positive. Dozens of inmates also tested positive for the virus last year.
Bryan Sexton, chief deputy prosecutor, didn't object to the request to reschedule the trial. Sexton said he understood the defense's concerns.
Karren granted the request and scheduled a new trial date of Aug. 29, 2022.
Ballett was arrested Dec. 26, 2019. He's accused of stabbing Allen 13 times, according to court documents.
Police found Allen in a grassy area near an apartment at 502 S.E. B St., about a block from the Bentonville Public Library.
Ieshia Webster told police she and Ballett stopped dating about six months before the stabbing outside her apartment, but he was still in love with her. Webster said she and Allen were companions, and Ballett didn't like the relationship, according to the affidavit.
Webster said she and Allen heard Ballett's car outside her apartment, and Allen went outside. There was a knock at the door a few seconds later. Webster said she saw the men fighting, and Allen was pulled in the apartment and the door was shut. They heard Ballett drive away, according to the affidavit.
Webster and Allen later heard a noise in the backyard. Allen went outside. Webster said she then heard a scream, went outside and saw Ballett had a knife and was stabbing Allen, according to the affidavit.
Ballett is being held without bond in the Benton County Jail.