Dismissal of murder case against Finley Fultz overturned after appeal
In a victory for Nevada County prosecutors, an appeals court has reversed a local judge’s dismissal of the case against murder suspect Finley Fultz, ordering that the case be taken up again in trial court.
The case against Fultz, now 32, had been thrown out in 2018 after Nevada County Superior Court Judge Thomas Anderson declared a mistrial in the matter.
Fulz had been accused in the 2014 slaying of 27-year-old Isaac Zaft, who prosecutors believe Fultz killed during the robbery of a marijuana grow. Nathan Philbrook 37, and Daniel Devencenzi, who died in 2019 at the age of 34, were also charged in connection with Zaft’s death.
In Anderson’s 2018 ruling, the judge expressed that a number of serious errors prosecutors had made while handling evidence against Fultz compromised the case to such a degree that a fair trial of the defendant would be impossible. The District Attorney’s Office appealed Anderson’s ruling, and the matter was subsequently taken up by the state Attorney General’s Office on appeal.
On Monday, the Third District Court of Appeal overturned Anderson’s ruling and referred the case back to Nevada County Superior Court for further proceedings.
The District Attorney’s Office has previously expressed that it intends to retry the case if Anderson’s ruling was overturned. No new trial date has yet been set for Fultz’s case.
“We conclude that finding (Anderson’s dismissal of the case) was made in error,” the appellate court said in its ruling Monday. “Because the record demonstrates the trial court believed a fair trial could be had… we believe it appropriate to reverse the judgment and remand the matter to the trial court…”
Check back for more on this story.
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