Billy Joe Wannyn will not go on trial next week for the 2018 death of a Pleasant Hill area man. The latest in a series of delays in the case came when it was announced in Criminal Court that Wannyn has changed attorneys.
Wannyn, 49, of Sparta, has been in jail since his arrest in connection with the January 2018 death of Albin Von (Salvatore) Buechel, 71, at Buechel’s home off Arthur Seagraves Rd.
Authorities said Buechel was killed during a knife attack in what they believe was a robbery. Buechel operated several businesses from his home, including a gold buying business. Buechel referred to himself on social media as “Goldfinger.”
Wannyn is charged with premeditated first-degree murder, felony murder (homicide during commission of another felony) and aggravated robbery.
Wannyn was first represented by the Public Defender’s Office that was appointed to him when he appeared in Criminal Court for arraignment on March 19, 2018. Since that time, the PD’s office was replaced when Crossville attorney Jeff Vires was hired to represent Wannyn.
Earlier this year, the Tennessee Supreme Court issued strict rules governing operation of the courts due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Those rules put on hold criminal court trials across the state for a period of time.
Late this summer, the rules were relaxed and courts slowly started scheduling trials. Criminal Court Judge Wesley Bray set a motion hearing date of Oct. 29 and set aside Nov. 4-6 as the trial date of Wannyn. The defendant has been incarcerated at the Cumberland County Jail since his 2018 arrest.
Tuesday it was announced that the trial was being postponed because family members has hired Pikeville area attorneys Howard Upchurch and Sam Hudson to represent him.
A new trial date of March 4 has now been set.