Posts tagged: Tari Eitzen
A vehicular homicide charge was dismissed Thursday against a Post Falls mother whose daughter was fatally injured while riding in an improperly installed car seat five years ago.
Spokane County Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen agreed with defense arguments that 26-year-old Eileen C. Jensen’s failure to correctly use the car seat was tragic but not criminally negligent, ending a legal case that brought widespread public attention to car seat safety issues.
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The aggravated murder trial of accused crossbow killer Cole K. Strandberg will proceed in January following a hearing to allow his defense attorney to present a case that his client should be acquitted because he is insane.
Defense attorney Chris Bugbee asked Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen Tuesday for what amounts to a mini-trial on Jan. 5 to present evidence about his client’s mental state at the time of the killing. Strandberg has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.
Eitzen reluctantly agreed, but said the January trial date is “written in concrete.”
Strandberg, who was featured earlier this year in a Discovery Channel episode of “Behind Bars,” is charged with sexually assaulting and using a crossbow to kill 22-year-old Jennifer Bergeron on Jan. 7, 2008.
Spokane County Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen has denied a request by convicted killer Shellye L. Stark’s lawyer to reconsider her denials of a new trial or arrest of judgment.
Julie Twyford had filed a motion that included a declaration from a Spokane County Jail inmate who said another inmate had told her her father served on the Stark jury and discussed details of the case when he wasn’t supposed to.
“Even if true, does it make a difference?” Eitzen said at today’s hearing. “Even if a juror talked to someone about what was going on in jury deliberations, is that in and of itself grounds for a mistrial?
“Is the rememdy some sort of sanction to the juror? I’m pretty sure the remedy isn’t vacating the verdict. Again, let the Court of Appeals decide.”
Also at issue for the defense is Eitzen’s sentencing Stark to consecutive sentences for first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. Twyford has argued the sentences should be served at the same time, but Eitzen said that’s another issue for the Court of Apeals to handle.
Stark’s mother, two sisters and teenage son attended the hearing, along with Spokane police detective Kip Hollenbeck.