Abernathy trial is continued indefinitely

The Sentinel-Record 3-16-1978

The first degree murder trial of Hot Springs Police Lt. Thurman Abernathy, who is charged in the 1976 death of Garland County Sheriff’s Deputy Linda Edwards, has been continued indefinitely for the second time in Hot Spring County Circuit Court.

The case originally was scheduled to be tried on Feb. 22 but was continued when defense attorney Jack Holt Jr. of Little Rock was summoned to Washington, D. C. to present oral arguments on the state’s prisons.

A spokesman for the Hot Spring County Clerk’s office Wednesday said the trial since had been reset for March 22 but again was continued at the request of Holt.

The court spokesman also said a “hearing” will be held before the case is tried.

In a telephone interview Wednesday afternoon, Holt said the case was continued the second time because of a conflicting court date. He said he has another case that will begin Monday and likely will continue through the rest of the week.

Holt said the earliest possible date he could try the case would be late April or early May.

“I have alerted the court (in Hot Spring County) the earliest possible time  due to the present ongoing case would be the 24th of April or during May,” he said.

Holt said the “hearing” the circuit clerk spokesman made reference to is in regard to some motions he has filed.

Hot Spring County Prosecuting Attorney John Cole was unavailable for comment on Wednesday.

Abernathy was charged in the case about four months after Mrs. Edwards’ skeletal remains were found scattered over Jack Mountain, just inside the Hot Spring County line. He is on indefinite suspension from the police department pending the outcome of the trial.

Mrs. Edwards was reported missing on Aug. 22,1976, when she failed to return to her babysitter’s home to pick up her two children. Her car was found shortly after her disappearance.

Mrs. Edwards was reportedly about four months pregnant at the time.

Abernathy is free in lieu of $50,000 bond.

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