Hale's remains were found along Continental Drive in Madisonville in June of last year. Five months later, Craig Davenport of Central City, was indicted by a Hopkins County Grand Jury and arrested in connection to Hale's killing. He faces charges for manslaughter and tampering with physical evidence.
Monday Davenport's trial was set for May 5 through May 8 of next year. It's a day Hale's family hoped would come sooner. It's the final bridge the family must cross before they're able to get their loved one's remains and deliver him to his final resting place.
"The hardest thing for me is after every one of these court [hearings] I have to call my mom and tell her, 'No Mom, they won't let you have your baby yet,'" said Lori Gentry, Hale's sister.
Hale's family had a memorial ceremony for him last August. Gentry says it offered a sense of closure, but noted it would be even more fulfilling to bring her brother's remains home.
"Being at the memorial, and seeing his pictures, and getting to talk to them was wonderful," she said. "But I still in my heart know he's not at peace."
Gentry says her family has been told the whereabouts of her brother's remains are currently unknown, leaving them feeling as if he's missing once again.
Gentry thinks some of her family's woes could represent a bigger problem within Kentucky's justice system. She says Davenport's trial was pushed to May 2015, in part, because several large civil cases filled up this year's docket. And although the family is working with a victim advocacy group, Gentry says the family feels as though they've been "pushed under the rug" regarding Hale's case.
She suggests the Commonwealth needs to revisit the way they book criminal trials and develop stronger victim advocacy programs that deliver more timely answers to families like hers.
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