CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — The father of a Mount Pleasant woman killed at a music festival in West Virginia will try to settle his lawsuit against eight of the defendants.

A court filing by Kim Miller said mediation will begin June 4. Other defendants are welcome to participate.

Miller’s lawsuit and two others filed after the July 2011 accident near Masontown are to be tried together in federal court in Clarksburg in August.

Nicole Miller died, and friends Rosie Doran and Yen Ton were injured when a pickup truck slid down a hillside and plowed into the tent where they slept. All are from Mount Pleasant.

The lawsuits target a dozen parties, including driver Clay Lewin of Cape Charles, Va.

Columbia — A seven-year-old plan to build apartments near the famed Angel Oak tree was battered with criticism Tuesday during the opening day of a trial that could help determine whether the project is ever built.

If developer Robert DeMoura gets environmental permits for the complex, he likely will sell land near the centuries-old Angel Oak to North Carolina developers interested in finishing all or part of his approximately 500-unit project on Johns Island.

But during opening arguments in state Administrative Law Court, environmentalists said the Angel Oak will surely suffer if the development project is built near the massive tree — no matter who completes the project. They are appealing the Department of Health and Environmental Control’s approval of water quality and coastal zone permits for the work.

An expert witness Armstrong called to court said the development could alter the groundwater flow and hurt the Angel Oak. The project also could hurt the Angel Oak because the tree’s root system is interrelated with that of a nearby forest that will be cleared for the project, said College of Charleston biology professor Jean Everett. Both rely on common fungi to help bring in nutrients and water.

“I would expect that such an old tree, with such a widespread root system, that there would be a significant impact,’’ Everett said. “That would be a negative impact.’’

Expert witnesses for DeMoura are expected to dispute that during the course of the trial, which could last through the end of this week.

SUMTER — A man suspected of setting a Sumter apartment fire that killed two children is now facing murder charges.

Timothy D. Dingle had originally faced attempted murder and first-degree arson charges. Police said those were upgraded Monday after the children’s deaths.

Authorities said 10-year-old Aalyah Jackson and her 11-year-old brother, Robert, died Saturday from injuries they suffered in the fire earlier in the week.

Wire reports