June 2, 1995 in City
Judge Postpones Murder Trial Again
The trial of a 15-year-old boy accused of the suffocation slayings of his sister and another teenage girl was postponed Thursday so his attorneys can question his natural birth parents.
Walla Walla County Superior Court Judge Yancey Reser scheduled Daniel Betournay’s trial to begin on Aug. 1.
The trial had already been postponed once and was scheduled to begin next Tuesday.
Betournay, 15, is accused of first-degree murder in the Dec. 14 killing his sister, April, and her friend, Beth Garbe, both 14, at the Betournay home. He has pleaded innocent and innocent by reason of insanity.
The trial was delayed so defense attorney William McCool could talk to Betournay’s birth parents.
Betournay and April, his biological sister, were adopted by James and Judith Betournay.
In preparing Betournay’s defense, McCool and co-counsel John Ziegler want to find out whether his natural relatives had any mental illness or if his natural mother abused alcohol or any other substance while she was pregnant.
The birth parents were found last week.
Officials claim that Betournay overpowered the girls and suffocated them by taping plastic bags over their heads.