PANOLA COUNTY — Two trial dates have been set for a Longview man accused of bludgeoning an elderly Tatum couple this past year. Michael Christopher Ferris, 21, has been held in the Panola County Jail since April 6 under bonds totaling $4 million. He is charged with two counts of attempted murder and two counts of injury to elderly persons. According to the Longview News-Journal, Donald “Buddy” Wagstaff said Wednesday that he was told by Panola County prosecutors that Ferris will be tried separately for the attacks on himself and Betty Barber.
Wagstaff and Barber were taken by surprise by a man who asked for help then wielded a claw hammer hidden behind his back. The couple was hospitalized , Barber with more serious wounds than Wagstaff and Ferris was booked into jail the next day.
Ferris’ first trial date has been set for March 5 in connection with the assault on Barber, Wagstaff said. Ferris will be tried again on April 8 in the attack on Wagstaff.