Prosecutors urge judge to proceed with Cortez Sims murder trial

Cortez Sims appears before Hamilton County Juvenile Court Judge Robert D. Philyaw for a detention hearing on Monday, Jan. 12, 2015.

While a man accused of murder continues his push for a new lawyer, prosecutors on Monday requested a closer trial date to protect the state's witnesses, one of whom was recently shot to death.

"We are dealing with a case where one of the witnesses has already been murdered," prosecutor Lance Pope said Monday in Hamilton County Criminal Court. "Not died. Not passed away from natural causes. Ms. Bianca Horton was murdered. She was one of the two witnesses who identified the defendant as the perpetrator."

photo Cortez Sims

Since Horton, 26, was found dead on the 2100 block of Elder Street in late May, authorities have speculated she was killed for cooperating with police and prosecutors.