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UPDATE | Court gives Murphy Village defendants more time

(WRDW)
Published: Sep. 23, 2016 at 11:17 AM EDT
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Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- The defendants in the Murphy Village racketeering case will get more time to prepare their case.

According to the court, a pretrial conference originally scheduled for Tuesday will be postponed until December.

Defense lawyers argued last week that the case is really complex since there are many defendants involved and so much evidence for each side to go through, they felt it was necessary so they can make informed decisions on how to proceed.


Monday, Sept. 26, 2016

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- The deadline for a change of plea for the defendants in the Murphy Village racketeering case is Monday at noon.

According to the court, any defendant in the case who wants to plead guilty has to file their plea on the business day prior to the pretrial conference.

On Friday, defense lawyers began a push to move the case from Tuesday to sometime in December, arguing that the case is complex and they felt it was necessary so they can make informed decisions on how to proceed.


Friday, Sept. 23, 2016 |

UPDATE:

12:45 p.m.

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- The defendants in the Murphy Village racketeering case are asking for more time.

According to court documents, the defendants have asked the judge to move their court date from Sept. 29 to sometime in December.

Defense lawyers argue that the case is really complex since there are many defendants involved and so much evidence for each side to go through, they feel its necessary so they can make informed decisions on how to proceed.

A judge has not ruled on this yet, so the Sept. 29 hearing is not officially postponed.

Any defendant in the case who wants to plead guilty have to file their plea by 12 p.m. on Sept. 28.


Friday, Sept. 23, 2016

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Five families out of Murphy Village say they're fighting to get their children back.

A traveler source told News 12 NBC 26 that six girls were taken by the Department of Social Services late last month. They're between the ages of 6 and 13 and two of them are sisters.

Our source said they were taken from their classrooms three weeks ago and were taken home to get their things. The source told us DSS never gave the girls' parents a reason for the custody change.

Some sources said the department alleged sex crimes, but we're told a doctor found no sign of abuse. Others claim DSS took the children as part of the federal RICO case stemming from Murphy Village. News 12 NBC 26 is working to verify those claims since DSS has not commented on the case to this point.

According to the source, one girl was released earlier this week. Thursday, a judge gave DSS 15 more days to keep the remaining girls.

Liz Owens was in the courthouse Thursday and saw the families. She said mothers and grandmothers were on their knees praying and holding Virgin Mary figures outside of the courtroom. They could be heard praying aloud, "Jesus, bring our girls home. Jesus, bring our innocent children home." The travelers also called this "legal kidnapping."

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