Woman to Go On Trial for Role in Richmond Resident’s Death

| January 19, 2013
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Lauren Gabbard

A 24-year-old Henrietta resident is scheduled to go on trial in October in the death of a Richmond woman.  During a hearing on Friday, Judge David Miller set aside two weeks for Lauren Gabbard’s trial.

Gabbard, James Gant, 25, and Brandon Simpson, 25 were charged with killing Michelle Rheuport, 40, at her home in the 400 block of Farris Avenue on May 22, 2012.

Simpson is accused of taking electronics from the home and then strangling Rheuport.  Gant and Gabbard’s roles, according to court documents, were to keep Rheuport’s 17-year-old son away from the home.  Authorities said a series of text messages implicated all three in the crime.

The trio faces one count each of murder, burglary, and theft of a controlled substance.  An additional charge of assault on a law enforcement officer has also been filed against Simpson.

Gant is scheduled to go on trial on Sept. 30 in Ray County.  A motion hearing in his case will be held on Feb. 27 at 10:00 a.m.

Earlier this month, Judge Larry Harman granted Simpson’s attorney’s request for a change of venue.  Stanley Thompson claimed the local coverage would prevent Simpson from receiving a fair trial.  Thompson cited the Richmond News and Excelsior Springs Standard in his argument for a change of venue during a hearing on Jan. 10.  After some discussion, attorneys agreed to move the case to Carroll County.  Click here to read KMZU’s previous coverage.

Simpson is scheduled to appear in a Carroll County courtroom on Feb. 27.  The prosecution said they were awaiting DNA test results from the Highway Patrol lab.  Simpson’s five-day trial was tentatively set to begin on Aug. 26.

Attorneys are slated to discuss a motion to reduce Gabbard’s $100,000 cash-only bond on Feb. 13.  Her trial is set to begin on Oct. 15 in Ray County.

James Gant

Brandon Simpson

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Category: Local News, News