LE MARS, Iowa | A defense decision to switch expert witnesses will further delay the trial of a Le Mars man who is charged with killing his sister.
District Judge Jeffrey Neary on Tuesday ordered that Thomas Bibler's trial, scheduled to begin Jan. 30, will now be reset to a date to be determined later.
The ruling delays a case stemming from the June 11, 2016, stabbing death of Shannon Bogh, 27, of Le Mars. Bibler is charged with first-degree murder, willful injury and going armed with intent in connection with his sister's death, and he has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
At a hearing Thursday, public defender Billy Oyadare informed Neary and Plymouth County Attorney Darin Raymond that he no longer intended to call Dr. Daniel Gillette as an expert witness. Oyadare gave no reason for the withdrawal, but said he plans to substitute Gillette with another expert witness. Neary gave Oyadare until Jan. 29 to designate a replacement.
Neary scheduled a status conference for Jan. 26.
As recently as two weeks ago, Bibler was to stand trial on Dec. 19, but that date, too, was continued because Oyadare and Raymond could not find an agreeable date to depose Gillette. Raymond had twice filed motions to strike Gillette as a witness because of the unavailability of Gillette to finish a deposition that was continued on Nov. 3.
The defense's expert witnesses are expected to provide testimony about Bibler's mental condition at the time of his sister's death.
Bibler, 35, in March waived his right to a jury trial and will instead have Neary decide his case.
Bibler is accused of assaulting Bogh in her home at 591 15th St. SW with an edged weapon. She died a short time later at the Le Mars hospital.
A witness to the stabbing identified Bibler as a suspect, and he was arrested without incident in his apartment about 30 minutes after the assault. According to court documents, Bibler has told investigators he has no recollection of what happened.
If found guilty of first-degree murder, Bibler would face a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole.