LOCK HAVEN – The trial in a 26-year-old Lock Haven murder case has been continued because of health issues on the part of the defendant.
The Loyd Groves trial had been scheduled for November in Clinton County Court. But a Tuesday hearing was held before visiting Senior Judge Kenneth Brown and Groves’ co-counsel David Lindsay requested a continuance. He told the court that Groves, now 68, is not physically capable of standing trial next month after undergoing heart surgery a week ago.
The proceeding included prosecutor Senior Deputy Attorney General Daniel Dye who was present by telephone from Harrisburg. Dye did not oppose the request for a continuance. Trial participants agreed that final pretrial arguments, originally scheduled for Nov. 3, will be continued until Nov. 17.
An earlier court schedule had set jury selection to begin Nov. 13 with Nov. 20 to Dec. 5 the time span for the trial itself. No new dates have been determined at this time.
Groves meanwhile is reported back in custody at the Clinton County Correctional Facility following his heart surgery. He has been locked up locally since his arrest in 2015. Groves is accused of killing Katherine “Kathy” Dolan Heckel of Lock Haven in 1991, her body never found. She was declared legally dead in 1998.
Groves had been bound over to court at a hearing in April of 2015. Groves had moved from the area to western Pennsylvania following Heckel’s disappearance. Heckel and Groves were coworkers at the paper mill in Lock Haven at the time.
The Groves arrest followed a statewide investigating grand jury report based on a renewed probe conducted by state troopers Curtis Confer and Michael Hutson and FBI special agent Kyle Moore. Their work led to the grand jury findings which determined sufficient evidence existed to charge Groves with Heckel’s murder.