Ex-medical examiner's hearing delayed

The arraignment on drug charges of a former medical examiner who is a key witness in a 2003 child rape and murder case was delayed again Tuesday morning.

Ronald Toolsie's arraignment was moved to April 20, and the state is discussing terms of settlement, said Hamilton County prosecutor Brian Finley.

"There is a chance it will get settled," Mr. Finley said.

Dr. Toolsie was indicted in Hamilton County in October on three counts of unlawful distribution of a controlled substance, one count of failure to keep required records of controlled substances and two counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud, records show.

He was the medical examiner in the 2003 Athens, Tenn., case in which Mitchell Delashmitt is charged with rape and murder in the death of his 15-month-old daughter, Angel.

Mr. Delashmitt's trial was slated to begin in September 2009, but the date was moved to December, then February, then to May 10.

Dr. Toolsie's new arraignment date is scheduled one day after a hearing is scheduled in advance of Mr. Delashmitt's trial.

Mr. Delashmitt's attorney, John Eldridge, said the April 19 hearing "was to give the prosecution time to see if Dr. Toolsie would waive his Fifth Amendment right and testify."

McMinn County prosecutor Jim Stutts did not return calls seeking comment on whether the arraignment delay could affect Mr. Delashmitt's trial date.

After Dr. Toolsie was indicted in October, his attorney, Charles Currier, advised him not to testify before his own charges were settled.

In a February hearing, Mr. Stutts asked for a continuance so Dr. Toolsie could testify at a later time.

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