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BRIGHTON — Two people charged in the murder of an elderly Adams County man will stand trial separately. Defense counselors for Laura Childress, 37, and Chase McGraw, 18, filed a motion to …
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BRIGHTON — Two people charged in the murder of an elderly Adams County man will stand trial separately.
Defense counselors for Laura Childress, 37, and Chase McGraw, 18, filed a motion to request their clients be tried separately on charges of first-degree murder. Prosecutors, conversely, want the pair tried at the same time.
Bob Moreland, 78, of unincorporated Adams County, was found beaten to death inside his burning Kennedy Avenue home early in the morning of June 15. McGraw and Childress, who apparently took up residence in Moreland’s house, were arrested in early July.
In open court arguments, McGraw’s attorney, Kevin Polley, argued that prosecutors failed to present a theory during last month’s joint preliminary hearing of why the murder took place or specific details of McGraw and Childress’ respective alleged involvement in Moreland’s death. Polley continued that by trying the defendants together, the prosecution could continue to present a case that didn’t provide those specifics.
Lead prosecutor David Young scoffed at the notion.
“I don’t know why they assume we have to give them a theory of the case,” Young said. “The theory is these two individuals killed a victim.”
Judge Mark. D. Warner, citing prior case history and not the defense’s assertion that a joint trial was a prosecution strategy, did side with the defense and ordered that the two defendants stand trial separately.
Childress, represented by public defenders Stephanie Gaskin and Scott Evans, entered a not-guilty plea to murder charges, and her trial date is set for March 23.
Polley requested a continuation of McGraw’s arraignment hearing for further investigation. McGraw will appear in court at 8:30 a.m., Dec. 1.
On a separate manner, Warner delayed a decision on a request from defense counselors to videotape an upcoming DNA sample test at the Colorado Bureau of Investigation lab.
Prosecutors offered the defense an opportunity to have its own expert or witness on hand for the test but they are opposed to the defense’s request to videotape the test because of fear that adding a cameraman into the room could disrupt the test procedure or other work in the lab.
Polley, holding a memo from the CBI, indicated it said they would need to garner a court order if they wanted to videotape the test.
Warner, wary of each defense team needing its own cameraman, delayed a decision so respective counselors could reach an agreement on one individual taping the test for both.
Both sides will be back in court for a decision at 9 a.m. Friday.
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