BY MELANIE WADE –
Quadruple homicide suspect Brian Bliss Travis, age 37, made an appearance in Polk County Circuit Court for a hearing on Monday, August 14, 2017. The case that shook much of the county and attracted state-wide media attention is expected to take several months to bring to trial.
This was Travis’ first time to appear since being transported to the Arkansas Department of Corrections on April 26, 2017.
Travis, who faces four counts of Capital Murder in the deaths of 2-year old Acelynn Wester, 9-year old Reilly Scarbrough, their mother, 43-year old Bethany Wester, and her uncle, 66-year old Steven Payne, was represented by two court-appointed attorneys in the case who filed ten motions of continuance, which were all granted by Polk County Circuit Court Judge Jerry Ryan. The motions will allow the Travis defense team additional time to collect data, evidence, and to investigate. The motions filed are all standard motions in cases that hold charges as serious as the charges Travis faces.
Judge Ryan issued a Protective Order, aka a “gag” order in the case, prohibiting any party from making extrajudicial statements. No one involved in the case, including the defense team, defendant, prosecution, or any witnesses, are allowed to discuss the case. While it is publicly unconfirmed at this time if the death penalty will be sought, in court Monday, one of Travis’ public defenders said they sought the continuance under the “assumption it would become a death penalty case,” and if so, would, “require us to put forth a lot more effort.”
His trial is set for April 16-27, 2018. Polk County Circuit Court Judge Jerry Ryan said in the hearing that he expects the trial to last at least two weeks. Brian Travis was transported from the Arkansas Department of Corrections to be in attendance at the hearing and will be returned back to the custody of ADC until his trial.
As a note, the charges in this article are merely an accusation and under the Constitution, the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.