A trial date has been set for the Allen County man charged in the brutal death of a young girl nearly two years ago.
Timothy Madden was in court Thursday for a pre-trial conference where the judge also ruled on a change of venue request.
Timothy Madden will stand trial February 26, 2018 in the death of seven-year-old Gabbi Doolin. Her body was found in a wooded area behind Allen County-Scottsville High School in November 2015. The child had been sexually assaulted, suffocated, and drowned.
Gabbi’s cousin Lori Doolin Wilson says a trial date brings the family some relief.
"It's been horrible and it doesn't get any easier, and the extended period of it makes the nightmare continue," Wilson said following the hearing. "I pray to God that we are moving one step closer to justice."
While Allen Circuit Court Judge Janet Crocker set a date for the death penalty case to go to trial, it’s unknown where it will take place. Crocker granted a defense motion to move the trial out of Allen County, but Madden’s Attorney Travis Lock doesn’t want the case to be tried in a surrounding county either.
"South central Kentucky, I believe, is a close and tight knit region," Lock told WKU Public Radio. "The idea that citizens in Allen County's borders would somehow have more knowledge of the case and more likely to be biased against a defendant as opposed to persons who live across the county line, I don't buy that."
Judge Crocker granted the defense time to conduct a survey of residents in contiguous counties to gauge their knowledge of the case. The survey will take place in the next 30 to 60 days and be conducted by researchers at Western Kentucky University.