Trial date to be set in May for man accused of killing Richmond officer

Published: Apr. 14, 2016 at 11:31 AM EDT
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A trial date will be set next month for a man who is charged with killing Richmond police officer Daniel Ellis.

The judge set the date for May 20, saying it is not fair to the community to delay the case any further.

Raleigh Sizemore, 35, is charged with killing Ellis last November when the officer was investigating an attempted robbery at a gas station. Police have said Ellis was shot while searching Gregory Ratliff's home in the 500 block of Ballard Drive.

Police reports say Ratliff gave Ellis permission to enter the home, and he was under the impression that no one else was inside when he was shot by Sizemore in the back of the house. Ratliff is accused of leading Ellis into an ambush. Sizemore was at the residence with Rita Creech, who was charged with robbery.

Police charged Sizemore, Ratliff, Creech and Carl Banks in connection to a robbery outside a gas station earlier that same day. Sizemore and Ratliff are charged in the officer's slaying.

The three men appeared before the judge Thursday morning. Creech was not on the docket.

Bailiffs took extra security measures Thursday, adding seven additional bailiffs and fitting Sizemore with a stun belt, which could be used to shock him if he started to act up.

The officer's widow and a number of police officers were all in court as three of the four suspects in the case stood before a judge.

Earlier this month, Ellis's family members said they are fed up because of delays in the case. At the time, Commonwealth's Attorney David Smith said the judge granted the defense extra time to go through all the evidence. The officer's family said that after five months, there was more than enough time for them to prepare for the case. They wanted a trial date to be set soon so they could make mental preparations.

On Thursday, the judge said this is his most important case so he is willing to clear a month of his calendar for the trials of Sizemore and Ratliff.

"If I could try this case this July I would," the judge said, adding that it takes time to prepare for this type of case.

The judge is pushing attorneys to schedule the trial to start in July of 2017.