A trial for Grantsville resident John Manis Richards, scheduled to begin Monday in Gilmer County, has been delayed again, according to the Gilmer County Circuit Clerk's office.

The trial has been delayed several times since 2008, last scheduled for May 18.

The Circuit Clerk said a problem surfaced in obtaining a court reporter for the May dates.

Now, Judge Larry Starcher said he was told Richards was in an Intensive Care Unit, preventing his appearance Monday.

Richards' father, Morris Richards, told the Herald he is in Camden-Clark Hospital in Parkersburg suffering from heart failure and high blood pressure.

Judge Starcher will be in the courtroom Monday, indicating he will further investigate the matter.

The Richards trial is related to the alleged stealing of equipment and materials from Hardman Supply of Glenville in July, 2007.

Richards' current attorney Christopher Moffatt, who recently replaced court appointed attorney Kevin Hughart, has now filed a motion to be dismissed as Richards' attorney, citing problems in the client-attorney relationship.

Reports indicate Judge Starcher has yet to remove him from the case.

Richards' trial has had several delays since 2008, recently a delay was because his former attorney Kevin Hughart's office burned to the ground, destroying Richards' files.

Two judges have now recused themselves from hearing the Richards case.

Gilmer Circuit Judge Jack Alsop advised the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Appeals that he was assigned to the Richard's case following the recusal of the Honorable Richard A. Facemire.

Alsop said upon a review of the reasons for recusal, he felt he should also be removed from the case.

Facemire was recused from the case last October, saying "That upon reviewing certain pretrial sections, the Court noted that part of the basis for the defendant filing a motion to recuse the prosecuting attorney Gerald Hough from prosecuting this case was related to information on two web sites ... 'Lone Meth Ranger' and 'Cal Patty Press.' "

"The Court reviewed those web pages and noted that there were allegations and innuendo that Facemire was not impartial and unbiased," he said.

Honorable Larry V. Starcher, former Supreme Court justice, was recalled for temporary assignment to hear the Richards case.

Richards was indicted in March, 2008 on three counts involving the Hardman Supply incident, where he allegedly took a delivery truck worth $30,000 and $3,200 in building materials and tools.

Richards had been eluding authorities for several months when he was spotted and arrested by Gilmer Sheriff Mickey Metz.

A 2003 case accused Richards with the theft of about $13,000 worth of materials from Hardman's and other outlets.

Richards is known for his web site "The Lone Meth Ranger," where he claims to battle the production of the illicit drug in the region and defends himself from charges filed against him.

Richards is well-known to the court system, with a high profile meth case against him being dismissed after Grantsville State Police lost the evidence.

State Police declined to confirm the findings of an internal investigation of Sgt. C. J. Ellyson, who advised former Calhoun prosecutor Matt Minney that he had inadvertently thrown the meth evidence away.

Ellyson was reportedly fired from the agency over the lost evidence and other alleged incidents, none of which the agency will confirm.

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