Trial date set for man accused in Sullivan student's death

Gregory O'Bryan
Gregory O'Bryan

By Matt McCutcheon - e-mail | bio
By Mike Dever - email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The man accused of killing an 18-year-old culinary student at Sullivan University was in court this morning, and is expected to stand trial for the death of Andrew Compton early next year.

During Thursday's proceedings, the defense requested a copy of any evidence obtained from the hard drive of a computer seized in a search of O'Bryan's residence in the Highlands not long after Compton went missing after leaving a dorm at Sullivan University the evening of October 28, 2010.

Investigators believe O'Bryan, 40, first came into contact with 18-year-old Andrew Compton online. According to the arrest report, O'Bryan admitted to detectives that he met Compton and brought him to his house, and that Compton died during sexual intercourse.

O'Bryan told police he concealed Compton's body in a large cardboard box and disposed of it in a dumpster. Detectives determined that the contents of the dumpster ended up at a landfill in Medora, Indiana. Crews searched the landfill for several days in November, but Compton's body was never found.

The prosecution is pushing on with the case, pursuing it as a capitol case while also attempting tedious DNA testing of Compton.

"We don't have Andrew so normally when we want a sample from the victim to test we take that from the victim themselves, so we have to take the DNA from his parents to construct a DNA profile,"Asst. Commonwealth's Attorney Thomas Van de Rostyne said.

[Gregory O'Bryan Arrest Report]

Forensics experts are examining the hard drive from O'Bryan's computer. Their investigation could take up to 60 days.  We know that other investigative work is being done on this case as far away as Texas.

O'Bryan is charged with one count of murder, one count of sodomy, three counts of abuse of a corpse, and two counts of tampering with physical evidence.

Jury selection for his trial three-week trial date has been set for January 6, 2012.

"We want to have a date. We looked at the calendars. [The defense was] going to try to push it farther and farther back and we don't think that's fair to the victim in this case," Asst. Commonwealth's Attorney Thomas Van de Rostyne said.

Given all the publicity and public searches for Compton -- including the extensive search of a Medora, Indiana landfill -- the question remains regarding the possibility of a change of venue in this case.

"I can't answer that. That would be up to the judge but we would argue against that," Asst. Commonwealth's Attorney Thomas Van de Rostyne said.

The defense also has an issue with the amount of time it is taking for the computer testing.  The defense is requesting it to be sped up, or to receive copies of the hard drives.

That will be the main focus of their next court date, which has been set for mid-January.

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