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US trial of Kidderminster murder accused delayed
THE murder trial of a Kidderminster poker player accused of killing his wife in the United States has been delayed by five months to allow the defence team more time to prepare.
Marcus Bebb-Jones, 49, faces a first-degree murder charge in Garfield County, Colorado, over the death of his wife Sabrina. After pleading not-guilty, his five-week trial was due to start on Monday but will now begin in April, 2013.
US prosecutors allege on September 16, 1997, Bebb-Jones killed his wife and hid her body in a national park.
The couple owned the Melrose Hotel in Grand Junction, Colorado, when Mrs Bebb-Jones disappeared in 1997. Her skull was found in 2004 in Douglas Pass, Garfield County.
According to court records, District Judge Daniel Petre reluctantly agreed to the delay to give Bebb-Jones’ right to a fair trial.
Bebb-Jones’ defence team claims it only recently received the physical evidence in the case, along with late disclosure of the conclusion by one expert prosecution witnesses analysing Mrs Bebb-Jones skull that she may have been shot.
That conclusion was not reached after a 2005 examination of the skull.
The case has also been the subject of several motion hearings in recent months, most regarding defence attempts to suppress evidence.
Judge Petre has ruled against motions to suppress evidence in a laptop seized in 2009 when Bebb-Jones was arrested in Kidderminster.
He has also ruled against dismissing evidence, on human rights grounds, from hotel rooms, a rented Ferrari, the Melrose Hotel and Bebb-Jones’ Grand Junction Home as well as evidence relating to handling of his mail and recording of his phone calls at Garfield County Jail where he is being held.
Judge Petre did, however, decide to suppress statements Bebb-Jones made to his psychiatrist and comments about his silence and emotionless demeanour by police upon his arrest in England.
In a new motion, Bebb-Jones’ attorneys have argued any suggestion at the trial that he was a gambler is not relevant to the case.