The man accused of gunning down eight people at his Appomattox County home in January 2010 will appear in court Friday, prosecutors said.

County Commonwealth’s Attorney Darrel Puckett said Monday that Christopher Speight will be in Appomattox County Circuit Court for a hearing at 2:30 p.m., but declined to state the nature of the hearing.

Puckett said he spoke with family of the victims last week in preparation for Friday’s proceeding.

Melissa Stallard, a sister to one of the victims, said she couldn’t speak to the nature of the hearing, but said the family is glad the process is moving along.

“We’re just looking forward to getting this started and finished,” said Stallard, whose brother, Jonathan Quarles, was found wounded in the road outside Speight’s home. He died at the hospital.

Other family members of victims declined to comment Monday.

Speight, 42, of Spout Spring, was arrested Jan. 20, 2010 following an overnight standoff with police, after officers discovered eight bodies at his home on Snapps Mill Road.

He faces three counts of capital murder and one count of attempted capital murder, along with a use of a firearm charge corresponding to each of those charges.

Police have said Speight shot a State Police helicopter during the standoff, forcing the pilot to land in a nearby field.

Investigators claim that along with Quarles, Speight killed his sister, Lauralee Sipe; her husband, Shannon Sipe; and their 4-year-old son Joshua at the home he shared with them.

He also is accused of killing Morgan Dobyns, Lauralee’s daughter from another marriage; Jonathan Quarles’ wife, Karen Quarles; their daughter Emily; and Emily’s friend, Bo Scruggs.

Speight was arrested after an 18-hour standoff with over 100 officers from various local and state agencies.

His trial has been delayed multiple times, most recently because attorneys were awaiting the findings of mental health evaluations.

Speight remains incarcerated in the Lynchburg Adult Detention Center, online jail records show.

Attorneys with the Capital Defender Office in Richmond did not return calls seeking comment Monday.

Halifax County Circuit Court Judge Joel Cunningham will preside over the hearing, at which Speight will be present, Puckett said.

Speight could face the death penalty on each capital charge, though Puckett has not said whether he intends to seek that punishment.

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Contact Dave Thompson at (434) 385-5547 or

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