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Gag order issued in murder hearing

Just days before a Thomson woman is to stand trial for the shooting death of her husband, a judge imposed a gag order which prohibits testimony being released publicly by several potential defense witnesses heard on Monday.

Durwood Davis, chief assistant district attorney of the Toombs Judicial Circuit, requested the gag order following a two-hour hearing before Superior Court Chief Judge Roger W. Dunaway, Jr. at the McDuffie County Law Enforcement Center.

Mr. Davis said he made the request because the prosecution had not had time to rebut statements made by the witnesses who testified at the hearing.

Public Defender Harold Wallace, who is representing murder defendant Helen Irene Ansley, concurred with Mr. Davis at which time Judge Dunaway granted the gag order request. Mr. Davis assisted Assistant District Attorney Rindi Harbeson during Monday's special hearing.

The ruling by Judge Dunaway means that reporters present at the hearing cannot disclose who testified or what statements they made during that time.

Jury selection in the murder trial of Mrs. Ansley is expected to get underway next Monday morning in McDuffie County Superior Court before Judge Dunaway.

Court officials say the trial could last three or four days.

Mrs. Ansley, who is free under $100,000 bail, is charged with malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, according to court records.

She is accused in the fatal shooting of her husband, 71-year-old Fred Ansley.

The shooting occurred at the couple's home on Whiteoak Road near Thomson on Jan. 30, 2008. Mr. Ansley was shot once with a small caliber handgun.

Web posted on Thursday, September 16, 2010

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