Brookside Murder Suspect Seeks To Delay Trial

Photo by Robert A. DeFrank Rudolph Richard Galberth asks Monday for a continuance in his case to allow defense attorneys time to review evidence.

The attorney representing a Brookside man accused of shooting and killing his wife in June appeared Monday in court and asked that his client’s trial be continued.

However, Belmont County Common Pleas Judge John Vavra did not immediately grant the request. Instead, he asked Belmont County Public Defender Frank Pierce to put the request in the form of a written motion. For now, that means the trial date for Rudolph Richard Galberth remains Sept. 5.

Galberth, 37, of 11 Driggs Lane, had appeared before Vavra for a scheduled hearing on a plea agreement. However, Pierce has not reached an agreement with Belmont County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Flanagan.

Flanagan said he’s still in the process of sharing evidence with Pierce. The defense attorney said his office is still examining material he’s received from the prosecutor.

“We are clearly not ready to talk about pleas,” Pierce said. “I’m going to ask for a continuance of the September trial date. Knowing what we already have and what’s still to come, I don’t think there’s any realistic way possible the trial could go forward.”

Galberth is accused of aggravated murder with a firearm specification for allegedly shooting and killing his wife, Amy Butler, 37, in the driveway of their Driggs Lane residence in the early hours of June 15. Galberth was later arrested on Interstate 77 near New Philadelphia without incident that same day.

He is also charged with having weapons under disability, which means he had weapons when he was not legally allowed to possess them.

If convicted, Galberth faces a life sentence, and the firearm specification could mean an additional three years would be added to that. He is considered to be having weapons “under disability” because he was on parole for a previous crime for which he was convicted in West Virginia. The disability charge also could add three years to the sentence.

Law enforcement officials said they believe the incident began as a domestic dispute that apparently escalated to physical violence and the shooting.

Galberth remains at the Belmont County Jail in lieu of $1 million bond.

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