The 36-year-old dad – known as John D – was found dead at a house in Third Street in the village on Tuesday, July 30, last year after he suffered serious head injuries.
Four people from Blackhall Colliery are charged with his murder.
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Bates was not called alongside his co-accused when the case was listed for mention at Teesside Crown Court on Thursday, February 6, with the three others excused from attending.
Prosecutor Richard Wright told the court Wednesday, April 22, will be the first day of the trial, which could last four weeks.The case is listed again for Friday, March 6, for a further mention.
His dad John said: "John D had a heart of gold, he would do anything for anyone.
“We just don't know why this has happened to him.
"I've lost a son, his siblings have lost their brother and his children have lost their dad.”