Ill witness to murder to testify before trial |

Ill witness to murder to testify before trial

An alleged witness to last month’s fatal stabbing at a Big Oak Valley home will testify while he’s still healthy enough, a Nevada County Superior Court judge ruled Thursday.

Martin Daugherty, 47, is scheduled to testify March 26.

The proceeding is called a conditional examination and, much like in a trial, both the prosecution and defense will get to ask Daugherty what he saw.

The District Attorney’s Office is concerned that Daugherty might not make it to trial.

Court records say he smokes, doesn’t take care of himself and suffers from congestive heart failure and diabetes.

A doctor at the Reno Veterans Administration hospital, where Daugherty is being treated, “agreed it would be in our interest to have Daugherty’s testimony memorialized now in case something happened to him in the future,” according to a DA investigator’s report.

That was a different outlook from another doctor at the hospital who spoke with a Public Defender’s Office investigator.

That doctor said “if Mr. Daugherty would quit his smoking and adhere to medical advice (the doctor) would not see a problem with Mr. Daugherty being available for trial at a later date,” the investigator reported.

Daugherty’s condition was improving under medication, the report also said.

Judge John Darlington ordered the conditional examination, which could be used as trial testimony. The transcript could become part of the court record. But Daugherty could also wind up testifying at trial.

Daugherty was in his Hutto Road home Feb. 16 when his live-in caregiver, 41-year-old Julie Biswell, was stabbed in the chest and abdomen and died at the scene.

Charles “Chuck” James Smith, Biswell’s estranged boyfriend who lived in a cabin on the same property, was charged with murder. He’s being held without bail at Wayne Brown Correctional Facility.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User