Trial date set in 2015 4th Quarter Sports Bar murder

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A date has been set for the trial of three men charged with the murder of a Columbus man in October 2015 at the 4th Quarter Sports Bar.

Daginald Wheeler, James Daniel Jr, and Demark Ponders are the men accused of the murder of Dominic Mitchell.

Police say the shooting happened because of an altercation between two motorcycle gangs - the Strikers and the Outcast.

"I think it's imperative that before we can begin the case that we – all of us need to know what those DNA come back as," said Wheeler's attorney Stacey Jackson.

"The results of the Crime Lab are quite frankly not back yet, and they will largely drive the direction of the defense and quite frankly the direction of the prosecution. So... and after some deliberation with the judge the right thing happened today and the matter was continued," said Ponders' attorney Rod Skiff.

Assistant District Attorney Ray Daniels suggested that gun was marked with prints from one of the three men arrested in what police are saying was a shootout involving two motorcycle gangs that left one man dead. The three men have been in jail since 2015.

"His family, they're very ready for this process to be over with," said Daniel's attorney Dorothy Williams. "It's been a tremendous drain on them emotionally…financially."

"What confused me is all this continuation…this been going on ever since 2015 and he's just sitting there, he can't go to work, they won't lower the bond… he can't do anything," said Wheeler's stepfather Johnnie Bell.

At one point, Judge Peters considered not continuing the case, but the DA and Defense asked otherwise.

Monday's court ruling was that the jury selection will begin this week and trial to begin May 1.

Attorneys say the wait time between selection and start of the trial is concerning.

"I think it is better practice to have continuity between the selection of the jury and the evidence phase and not have a thirty-day gap," Skiff said.

"So they could go to the crime scene, they could start doing research, start reading newspaper articles, different things like that you don't want," Jackson said.

The state says they expect the crime lab results to be back on April 15 and trial for this case will begin on May 1.

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