MOUNT VERNON — Just over a year after Lilly Dawn Pressley-Claggett, 35, of St. Louisville, was shot and killed on Ohio 586 in southeastern Knox County, Michael T. Collins, 55, of Frazeysburg, will go to trial Tuesday for her death.
Collins is also charged with shooting his son, Jesse Bernard Collins, 31, of Frazeysburg, who was a passenger in the car driven by Pressley-Claggett.
Collins faces a total of nine charges in the case, including murder with a firearms specification, attempted murder, voluntary manslaughter with a firearms specification, involuntary manslaughter with a firearms specification, having weapons while under disability and tampering with evidence.
The trial may take several days to complete, as the prosecution alone has issued more than 30 subpoenas, according to court records. Defense attorney Bruce Malek has also issued numerous subpoenas to witnesses.
The trial has already been postponed four times, but another request for a delay, filed last week by the defense, was turned down.
Pressley-Claggett was shot and killed the night of July 1, 2011, while she and Jesse Collins were headed north on Ohio 586, apparently being pursued by Michael Collins, who fired at her car. Return shots were reportedly also fired.
In the car with Michael Collins was his daughter, Melissa Collins Kramer, 29, of Utica.
Details of the incident were not released, except that the initial report of the incident came in a call to the Knox County Sheriff’s Office at 10:27 p.m. when it was reported that a car had struck a tree off the left side of the road. Both occupants had been shot. The driver, Pressley-Claggett, was dead and Jesse Collins was flown to the OSU Medical Center, where he was a patient for several weeks.
The Ohio Highway Patrol said only that a weapon had been recovered and that the incident appeared to be the result of a domestic dispute.
A key to the trial is expected to be the testimony of Kramer, who agreed to testify against her father and was allowed to plead guilty to a lesser charge. She was originally charged with tampering with evidence and obstructing justice, third-degree felonies. At the end of October, she agreed to a deal and pleaded guilty to a charge of obstructing official business, a fifth-degree felony, and was sentenced to three years of community control.
If convicted on the most serious of the murder charges, Michael Collins could face a sentence of 15 years to life.
Jury selection is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m.