Trial date set for couple charged in Kelsey Starling death

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WINSTON COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — A Decatur couple who were involved in a boating accident over the Fourth of July that resulted in a woman dying and going missing on one of the state’s deepest lakes will have their day in court next year.

On Thursday, Circuit Judge Jimmy Daryl Burt set a a jury trial on Feb. 3 for Nick and Jodi Suggs, who are charged with criminally negligent homicide for a boating accident where Kelsey Starling went missing.

According to police, Starling was riding in a boat driven by Jackson Fite and the Suggses were in another boat. The two boats collided with one another on Smith Lake. Starling, 26, was unaccounted for following the accident and has not been seen since.

Fite was later charged with boating under the influence and pleaded guilty to the charge last month. He received a 90-day suspended jail sentence and will be on probation for two years.

In a statement sent to media following their indictment in the case, the Suggses attorney Jason P. Knight said his clients are respected in the community and that it was “confounding” that they were charged in the case.

“At any rate, the Suggs vehemently deny the misdemeanor charges against them and look forward to being vindicated and put an end to this nightmare,” Knight said. “They also want to extend their heartfelt thoughts and prayers to all the families affected by this tragic accident and in particular to Kelsey and the Starling family.”

Starling was a speech pathologist at Tuggle Elementary School. Despite an extensive search of the lake, her body has not been found as of Friday.

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