The sentencing of Ronnie Rush for the murders of Calhoun residents Ward Groves, 69, and Mary Hicks, 60, has been postponed.

The sentencing was scheduled for today in Jackson County, but has been moved forward to January 25, 2008 at 10:30 a.m. in Ripley.

The delay is likely related to another pending appeal of the jury's decision during a recent re-trial.

Defense attorney Teresa Monk, in a motion filed November 21st, is asking to set aside the most recent verdict and grant a new trial, saying that "Cpl. Doug Starcher had illegal contact with four male jurors," during a lunch break outside the Jackson County courthouse.

Rush, 21, has now been tried twice and been found guilty twice for double homicide among other charges. He was first charged when he was 16 in 2003.

Rush was found guilty on two counts of first degree murder by a Calhoun jury in December, 2004 for the slayings, but the WV Supreme Court ordered a re-trial because the West Virginia State Police in Grantsville botched the case.

Monk says "It is simply a matter of following the law and getting Mr. Rush a fair trail."

Also in the motion, Monk indicates there are other problems with the jury, writing "Counsel has reason to believe that other juror misconduct took place."

Judge Thomas Evans III, after interviewing the four jurors, dismissed two because of conversations the men had with Cpl. Starcher regarding mutual acquaintances in the WV State Police, with the trial then continuing.

During the interviews, some of the four jurors indicated they engaged in small-talk about WVU football and deer hunting, but did not directly discuss the case.

The conversations between the officer and some of the jurors lasted about 15 minutes.

Attorney Monk says one of the two remaining "tainted jurors" consequently became the jury foreman.

Monk said if she and defense attorney Holmes had engaged the jurors in such a matter, the case would have likely come to a halt.