Brandon Simpson

James Gant

Lauren Gabbard

Two of the three people charged with the death of Michelle Rheuport, 40, appeared in a Ray County courtroom Thursday morning.  Judge Larry Harman was appointed to preside over the case against Brandon Simpson, 25.  He, James Gant, 26, and Lauren Gabbard, 24, have each been charged with murder, burglary, and stealing. Simpson’s attorneys asked that the case be moved to Carroll County.  The judge granted that request.

According to KMZU reporter Kristie Cross, the state is awaiting DNA test results from the Highway Patrol lab.  A five day trial was tentatively set to begin on Aug. 26.  Simpson will next appear in court on Feb. 27.

Gant also attended a hearing Thursday morning.  He was arraigned on all three counts.  He is scheduled to go on trial on Sept. 30.  That too is expected to take about a week to complete.  Gant is scheduled to return to court on Feb. 27.  No change of venue request has been made in Gant’s case.

A criminal setting is the next item on the docket in Gabbard’s file.  That event is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 18.