Tashia Stuart trial is delayed until May 28 (WA)

The trial for a Pasco woman charged with fatally shooting her mother will be pushed back more than a month.

Tashia Stuart’s trial, which was slated to begin April 15, is now set to start May 28.

Stuart, 39, is charged with first-degree murder for allegedly shooting her 58-year-old mother, Judy Hebert, during an argument over money in March 2011.

During a hearing Tuesday, Stuart’s attorney, Robert Thompson, asked for the additional time to allow a key defense witness to review evidence.

Franklin Superior Court Judge Cameron Mitchell denied Thompson’s motion to suppress evidence from Stuart’s cellphone, which was seized from a couch shortly after Hebert was killed. Mitchell ruled the cellphone evidence was obtained legally and it will be allowed into evidence at the trial.

Thompson argued that police may have looked in the cellphone before obtaining a warrant. He said statements in an affidavit submitted by Pasco Police Detective Justin Greenhalgh to obtain the warrant revealed information in Stuart’s phone about her “overdosing on baking soda.”

Thompson also argued that the memory card in Stuart’s cellphone was not in the phone when police initially seized it.

Mitchell shot down the theory that the memory card was never in the phone, but he did say there was evidence that could suggest that Stuart’s cellphone may have been accessed before police obtained the warrant.

“The issue really is whether the evidence indicates the Samsung SD card was in the phone when it was seized,” Mitchell said in court.

Pasco Police Sergeant Jeff Harpster testified that he bagged Stuart’s phone after finding it in the couch and turned it over to the Pasco Police Department’s crime specialist, David Renzelman. Renzelman corroborated Harpster’s testimony and said the cellphone was put into a temporary evidence safe before it was logged.

Stuart, dressed in an orange jumpsuit and wearing a ponytail, sat quiet for most of the two-and-a-half hour hearing. She only spoke briefly when Mitchell asked her if she consented to the trial date being pushed back.

Stuart will also face an attempted murder charge at the trial, which is expected to take three weeks, for an incident where her mother was hit on the head with a 32-pound bin 11 days before she was killed.

Prosecutors allege Stuart and her husband arraigned for Hebert to be in a certain spot in the garage so Stuart could push the bin onto her. Stuart’s estranged husband, Todd Stuart, was acquitted last September of any wrongdoing in the incident.

Stuart will appear in court again for a pre-trial hearing, though the date of that hearing still is undetermined.

Attribution:

Tashia Stuart trial is delayed until May 28
Tyler Richardson
March 13, 2013
Tri-City Herald
http://www.tri-cityherald.com/2013/03/13/2310634/tashia-stuart-trial-is-delayed.html

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