The trial of Phillip Walters, the man accused of murdering his girlfriend, then throwing her body over a bridge at Falls in 2018, has been scheduled for Aug. 17, according to the new judge assigned to the case.
Senior Judge Dudley Anderson of Lycoming County, assigned to the case after Wyoming County President Judge Russell Shurtleff recused himself in March, said in pre-trial motions June 29 that the case could move forward in August.
At that hearing, Judge Anderson did clear the way for two new charges to be brought against Walters: strangulation and abuse of corpse. Both had been requested by Wyoming County District Attorney Jeff Mitchell.
An unresolved issue at least on June 29 at the time of the pre-trial motions is whether Mitchell should recuse himself from the case based on charges leveled by Walters’ Attorney Timothy Michaels.
Mitchell said last Thursday that he expects the judge to rule on that matter by the end of this week.
Walters has been charged with criminal homicide, first degree murder and third degree murder in the death of Haley M. Lorenzen, 24, of Oregon.
Walters has been in the Wyoming County jail without bail since he was arrested in January of 2019.
The body of Lorenzen had been missing since Dec. 31, 2018, and was recovered on July 20, 2019 in the Susquehanna River near Plymouth.
Both Mitchell and Michaels were in agreement last week that even if the case were on the calendar for Aug. 17, no order has come through as to what a jury trial might look like in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of the court’s actions, including guilty pleas and sentencings have been conducted via use of Zoom technology.