Hearing in murder case postponed in wake of attorney’s request for his own arrest
April 13, 2018
The attorney for a man charged with the murder of a marijuana grow caretaker railed Friday against prosecutors, saying they've impeded his ability to speak to his client by relocating him to Placer County.
Defense attorney Greg Klein, who represents Finley Fultz in the 2014 shooting death of Isaac Zafft, alternatively asked visiting Nevada County Superior Court Judge Chris Chandler to arrest him or hold him in contempt for refusing to proceed with a hearing that afternoon.
Klein argued that authorities moved Fultz from the Nevada County Jail after two codefendants pleaded guilty to manslaughter — a proceeding that occurred without Klein's knowledge. Additionally, Klein said he needs to review a transcript of that plea hearing and more time to review the case.
"Arrest me, if that's what you want to do," Klein told the judge. "Hold me in contempt."
Chandler granted Klein's request to postpone the hearing, but only after the defense attorney said he shouldn't make any legal decisions in the wake of a medical procedure. The judge delayed the hearing until Monday, questioning why Klein waited over an hour to mention his condition.
Assistant District Attorney Chris Walsh said the Friday hearing — intended to force prosecutors to reveal evidence in the case and, in a separate issue, question the legitimacy of Fultz's preliminary hearing — was requested by Klein. Walsh asked the judge to set aside Klein's requests and set a trial date.
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"That's hysterical," Klein said of the request to set a trial date, which he argued was premature. "They want to lock this man up for the rest of his life."
On Monday attorneys are expected to set a trial date and examine Klein's issues about the evidence and preliminary hearing.
The charges against Fultz, 28, stem from the July 7, 2014, shooting of Zafft at a Penn Valley marijuana grow. Authorities charged Fultz with murder, along with Nathan Philbrook, 34, and Daniel Devencenzi, 33.
Philbrook and Devencenzi last week pleaded guilty to manslaughter. Both must testify against Fultz in his trial as part of their plea deal.
Philbrook, who also pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree robbery, will receive 23 years in prison as part of the deal. Devencenzi will get 11 years in prison. Their sentencing dates aren't yet scheduled.
To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4239.
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