Christopher Speight

Christopher  Speight (second from right) was led from Virginia State Police headquarters in Appomattox on Jan. 20.

The trial for an Appomattox County man charged with capital murder in the slaying of eight people in January 2010 cannot proceed without the results of the defendant's mental health evaluations, which still are pending.

Appomattox County Commonwealth’s Attorney Darrel Puckett said Monday the trial date for Christopher Bryan Speight should be decided in October.

Puckett held a video conference with Circuit Court Judge Joel Cunningham Monday. Cunningham set another conference for Oct. 16, at which time a new trial date should be set.

Puckett said he hopes to have the trial under way by the end of 2012 or early 2013.

Speight, 42, stands accused of murder in the deaths of his sister and her husband and his niece and nephew at the home they shared onSnapps Mill Road.

He also is charged with killing a neighborhood couple, their teenage daughter and a teenage friend.

Speight faces three counts of capital murder for the slayings.

Investigators have said some of the victims may have been killed as many as two days before law enforcement officers were called to the home on Jan. 19, 2010.

The bodies of Speight’s sister, Lauralee Sipe, and her husband Shannon Sipe were found in the living room of the house.

The body of their son, 4-year-old Joshua, was found upstairs.

Investigators believe the three may have been killed on Jan. 17.

Deputies have said the bodies of Morgan Dobyns, Lauralee’s daughter from another marriage, and Karen Quarles were discovered on the front porch of the house.

Karen Quarles’ daughter, Emily, was found dead in her mother’s car in Speight’s driveway.

The body of Emily Quarles’ friend, Bo Scruggs, was found in the driveway. Jonathan Quarles, her father, was found shot but still alive near the end of the driveway by a passerby.

Jonathan Quarles later died at Lynchburg General Hospital.

Speight surrendered to law enforcement officers the morning of Jan. 20 after an overnight standoff near the home.

Court records claim Speight confessed to the shootings after he was taken into custody.

He was declared competent to stand trial in December 2010.

Puckett said the evaluations are the last major hurtle before the case can be tried.

The original trial date was set for this month. Cunningham allotted three weeks for the trial. 

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