Murder hearing rescheduled |

Murder hearing rescheduled

ALL | GrassValleyArchive

Assigned several different lawyers in the month since his arrest for murder, a key hearing in Charles “Chuck” James Smith’s case was rescheduled Thursday in Nevada County Superior Court so his new lawyer can review the evidence.

Smith, 39, is accused of stabbing his estranged girlfriend, 41-year-old Julie Biswell, Feb. 16 on the Big Oak Valley property where they lived.

The property’s owner, 47-year-old Martin Daugherty, allegedly witnessed the killing in his mobile home on Hutto Road. But he’s in ill health, with congestive heart failure and diabetes, and the District Attorney’s Office wants to question him in court before his condition worsens.

The proceeding, called a conditional examination, had been set for Tuesday. It was rescheduled to April 30 so Smith’s new court-appointed lawyer, Monica Lynch of Sacramento, can review the evidence.

District Attorney Mike Ferguson said providing her with all the available evidence shouldn’t be a problem.

Lynch was assigned to represent Smith just this week. He had been represented by different public defenders, and then by a private lawyer who had to bow out for family reasons.

The Public Defender’s Office was taken off the case after contending in a petition it had a conflict of interest because it had represented “a victim” in the case. The petition doesn’t name the person.

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