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Sobriety required for test, judge says

Wed., June 9, 2010, midnight

A murder defendant facing life in prison asked a judge on Tuesday to let him get drunk before being evaluated for violent tendencies.

Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen denied Justin W. Crenshaw’s request and ordered him to take a test he’d refused to take at the Spokane County Jail late last month.

Crenshaw, charged with two counts of aggravated murder for the Feb. 28, 2008, slayings of Mead High School senior Sarah A. Clark and 20-year-old Tanner E. Pehl, is set for trial this month, with jury selection beginning June 28. Testimony cannot begin until July 12 because of scheduling conflicts with investigators.

Crenshaw, 22, apparently plans to present the “diminished capacity” defense at trial – meaning defense attorney Chris Bugbee will argue Crenshaw was incapable of intentionally causing death because of his mental capacity. Crenshaw raised concerns about Bugbee running for Spokane County prosecutor at Tuesday’s hearing, but Eitzen said he won’t get a new lawyer.

Eitzen told Crenshaw on Tuesday that he must undergo the test by an Eastern State Hospital doctor that he refused on May 27 or the diminished capacity defense won’t be admissible at trial.

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