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Harper Murder Trial Pushed Back Three Weeks

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Kevin Harper entered a Yakima courtroom on day two of what’s technically his trial. Though, so far there’s no jury and we haven’t heard opening statements. The Goggin triple murder case was forced to start Monday in line with the deadline to meet Harper’s right to a speedy trial.  Detectives say Harper was high on meth when he allegedly entered the Goggin’s West Valley home last year and killed three people during a robbery.

His attorney filed a motion to dismiss the case altogether because of mismanagement by county prosecutors. “They haven’t provided us with the materials needed to prepare for the trial,” said Harper’s attorney Peter Mazzone.  Mazzone said prosecutors haven’t cooperated.

Now, he’s not ready for trial after only recently receiving hundreds of pages of documents and evidence. “I’m not going to take some person’s life in my hands, commit malpractice while he’s staring at the rest of his life in prison. I’m simply not going to do it,” Mazzone said.

In an unusual move, the trial judge stepped in to push the trial forward by setting a series of deadlines that need to be met by prosecutors and defense. That included coming down on the case’s lead detective for being absent for the start of Tuesday’s trial.

“You are the lead case detective on what has been characterized as one of the most major homicides in Yakima, along with two other homicides and you’re not here? Are you kidding?” said Yakima Superior Court Judge Ruth Reukauf. “Why this would not have the complete attention of the Sheriff’s department and Prosecutor’s office at this particular point is absolutely unknown to me.”

Harper’s attorney said he can’t be ready for a jury trial before April. He also asked the court to let another attorney join the defense, which will push up the start date to mid-November. Mazzone wants the prosecutor’s office to pay for those costs because of the way the case has been handled. For now, Harper’s trial is on recess until next month to give both sides time to prepare.

The judge said a ruling on the motion to dismiss the case altogether will be made on September 17th.

courtesy of KIMA

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