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Several possible witnesses on lawyers' lists to testify

The murder trial of Helen Irene Ansley, which was supposed to start in McDuffie County Superior Court in Thomson on Monday, has been postponed.

The trial is being delayed as attorneys wait for a psychiatrist's report on the defendant, Toombs Judicial Circuit District Attorney Dennis C. Sanders said.

The latest evaluation took place at East Central Regional Hospital in Augusta last Thursday.

Mr. Sanders said because the doctor had not been able to send a copy of that evaluation to his office and to Harold Wallace, public defender, for review, the trial could not proceed.

Mr. Sanders, who will prosecute the case with Chief Assistant District Attorney Durwood Davis when it is rescheduled, said there was no way the trial could have gone forward without attorneys having had time to review the latest report from the psychiatrist.

The decision to postpone the trial was made last Friday, Mr. Sanders said.

Toombs Judicial Circuit Superior Court Chief Judge Roger W. Dunaway Jr. will set a new trial date.

Originally, Mrs. Ansley's trial was expected to have lasted the entire week, according to McDuffie County Superior Court Clerk Connie Cheatham.

Mrs. Ansley, 69, underwent a mental evaluation after her arrest on murder charges in connection with the Jan. 30, 2008, shooting death of her husband, 77-year-old Fred Engus Ansley.

The crime took place at the couple's home in the 800 block of White Oak Road, just outside the Thomson city limits.

That particular report remains sealed in the case file, court records show.

Mrs. Ansley, who remains free under $100,000 bond, and Mr. Ansley had argued with each other on the day of the shooting, authorities said.

The prosecution, which is expected to be aided by Georgia Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Tony Williamson, is planning to call several witnesses. Mr. Wallace, meanwhile, has submitted the names of 14 people as possible witnesses for the defense. One of those prospective witnesses is Mrs. Ansley's son, Steve Chaney.

Web posted on Thursday, January 14, 2010

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