A man accused of first degre murder and child abuse will appear in court May 28 for a contested preliminary hearing, according to Ford County District Court documents.
The charges against 28-year-old Brock Cunningham stem from the November 2008 death of Natalie Pickle. She was 3 1/2 at the time of her death, which was ruled a homicide in December 2008. The case has remained open since and has caught media attention statewide, mainly due to questions on the delayed filing of charges.
In a contested preliminary hearing, prosecutors must convince the judge that there is probable cause to believe that a crime was committed and that the defendant committed the crime. If probable cause is established, the case will proceed to trial. If the judge decides there is not probable cause that the defendant committed the crime, the charge could be dismissed or reduced to a misdemeanor for trial in court.
Recently elected Ford County Attorney Natalie Randall will act as prosecutor for the case. Cunningham has retained Wichita lawyer Dan Monnat for his defense.
Cunningham's bond is set at $75,000. He was released from custody Jan. 17.