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Scott County death penalty trial delayed until July

Wes Bunch • Feb 21, 2014 at 8:13 PM

GATE CITY — A Scott County man facing the death penalty for allegedly killing a fellow inmate at a local jail will not face trial until this summer after a continuance was granted in his case.

The 10-day-long jury trial for Shannon I.Q. Bellamy, 23, of Gate City, had been set to begin Wednesday morning in Scott County Circuit Court, but was instead continued until July 14.

Bellamy is charged with capital murder for allegedly killing a fellow inmate at the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail in Duffield.

According to the Scott County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, the trial was delayed so the defendant could be further evaluated by a second mitigation expert.

Because he is charged with capital murder, Bellamy was required to undergo a mental evaluation before his trial could begin. The evaluation is also used for mitigation of punishment during sentencing.

Bellamy has already undergone his initial evaluation for sanity. The psychologist who performed that procedure reportedly requested that Bellamy be further evaluated.

A motion to allow that evaluation was granted Thursday during an appearance in circuit court.

The Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office said the delays are not uncommon in capital cases since there are so few psychologists and doctors in Virginia who are qualified to perform the evaluations.

Scott County Commonwealth’s Attorney Marcus McClung said that although he understands the necessity of the delays and evaluations, he is still “frustrated” by them.

“It’s necessary, I understand that,” McClung said. “But every time the case comes up the family of the victim has to relive it, and just for it to be continued again to another date. It’s frustrating for the victim’s families, and it’s frustrating for our office because we represent them.”

Bellamy was indicted in June 2012 in connection with the death of Jeffery Allen Kilgore, 42, of Wise.

Kilgore died after allegedly being hit in the head by Bellamy during an altercation in a housing unit at the jail.

A medical examiner’s report determined Kilgore died of blunt force trauma to the head.

The fight occurred in a housing pod at the end of the inmates’ lunch hour.

Kilgore was being held at the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail on a civil commitment that stemmed from a 1995 conviction for forcible sodomy of a minor, while Bellamy was serving a three-year sentence following convictions for carnal knowledge of a minor and drug distribution.

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