Murder trial postponed again

  By Abby Morris-Frye
star staff
amorris@starhq.com
  The trial, scheduled to begin today, of a Valley Forge man charged in the 2003 death of 33-year-old Terri Michelle Abbot, of Johnson City, has been postponed again, this time due to an attorney's illness. John Vernon Campbell, 41, 175 Chambers Hollow Rd., was indicted on charges of first degree murder, felony murder and abuse of a corpse.
  On March 8, 2003, a Kingsport man and his two sons, who were scouting a fishing spot in a creek on Panhandle Road near the Blue Hole Recreation Area, found Abbot's body, according to police reports filed at the time. An autopsy determined Abbot died from several blunt force traumas to the head. The autopsy also placed the date of Abbot's death as either Feb. 13 or14, 2003.
  In July, 2003, a specially called Carter County grand jury handed down indictments charging Campbell with first degree murder and felony murder. A separate grand jury handed down an indictment in July, 2004, charging Campbell with abuse of a corpse in Abbot's death.
  Campbell was first slated to stand trial in July but that trial was postponed due to the last minute discovery of new evidence. Assistant District Attorney Ken Baldwin told the STAR at that time that he and other individuals studying the case were made aware of a test that could show if blood had been on a piece of evidence. Baldwin said results of the test were significant enough to be included in the prosecution of the case.
  After the new evidence was presented to the defense and Judge Lynn Brown, who is presiding, Assistant Public Defender Robert Oaks asked that Brown grant a continuance in the case to allow him to review the new evidence and prepare a defense against it. Brown ruled in favor of that continuance and Campbell's trial was reset for Dec. 7.
  According to Baldwin, Campbell's trial was postponed this time due to Oaks' illness. A new trial date has not yet been set. Brown continued the case again on Monday.