Trial postponed again in murder of Reno woman | TheUnion.com

Trial postponed again in murder of Reno woman

Maurice Di Aundra Rogers

The murder trial for Maurice Di Aundra Rogers, already postponed from last fall, now has been rescheduled for October.

Rogers has been charged with homicide in the death of Felicia Romaine Spruell-Jones, 46, of Reno.

Spruell-Jones' body was found in the road under the Interstate 80 overpass at Farad Road east of Truckee on April 4, 2016. Rogers was quickly identified as a suspect and a law enforcement bulletin was distributed throughout Nevada and to agencies in the greater Sacramento area. He was located and detained in south Sacramento four days later and is being held without bail.

Spruell-Jones allegedly was shot by Rogers, her boyfriend, because he was in love with another woman.

In the two years since his arrest, Rogers has been represented by a series of public defenders. In December 2016, he told a Nevada County Superior Court judge his hearing rights were being violated and that his attorneys refused to file motions on his behalf. He then began shouting obscenities and fought with bailiffs before being removed from the courtroom.

A motion to suppress evidence in his case was denied in September 2017 after Rogers unsuccessfully argued the evidence was obtained from what he calls an illegal stop, detention and search. His trial, which was set to start in October, was rescheduled to the end of May because his attorney at the time, Greg Klein, had recently undergone surgery.

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On Friday, however, Rogers' trial was postponed again because Klein had declared a conflict of interest and had been relieved as the defendant's attorney.

Ben Jacob, Rogers' new attorney, told Judge Candace Heidelberger he had just received the discovery in the case and requested a continuance due to the severity of the charges.

The trial, which has been estimated to run four weeks, was moved to Oct. 9. The parties are set to return to court for a trial readiness conference on Sept. 7.

Drunk driving suspect fails to appear for sentencing

A Citrus Heights man who had pleaded no contest to driving under the influence, and hit and run, was a no-show for his sentencing.

Kurtis Lee Smith, 57, was arrested on May 19, 2017, after he reportedly was swerving on Highway 49, suddenly accelerated and rear-ended another vehicle.

That car spun out of control and moved into oncoming traffic, striking a guard rail before stopping. The 19-year-old female driver reportedly sustained minor to moderate injuries. Smith stayed at the scene about a minute before leaving and was arrested later, when he stopped his vehicle near Lime Kiln Road.

Smith pleaded no contest to the charges in March and was set to be sentenced Friday. Judge Candace Heidelberger noted that he owes 270 days in custody and issued a no-bail warrant.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at lizk@theunion.com.

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