The trial of Kenneth H. Botham Jr. was tentatively set this morning to begin Nov. 8, exactly one year after he was arrested and charged with four counts of first-degree murder.
The date was agreed on by Dist. Judge William Ela, Dist. Atty. Terrance Farina and Mesa Countyís new public defender, Edward Lipton, in a Mesa County District Court hearing this morning.
That date is only tentative, depending on the outcome of a Colorado Supreme Court hearing on an original proceeding which asks that the high court change venue (location of the trial). The Supreme Court is expecting to discuss that request, filed by the Colorado Public Defenderís Office, at its Aug. 19 conference.
Should the outcome of the high court hearing be that a change of venue must be made, the trial date may have to be changed to suit the schedule of a new judge and another district court.
If the high court decides against change of venue or simply refuses to accept jurisdiction in the matter, the trial date is expected to stay at Nov. 8.
Based on the possibility that there will be no change of venue, Judge Ela told Lipton that he wants all defense motions filed within a week after the Supreme Court action. If that action takes place on Aug. 19, motions must be made to the district court by Aug. 27, Judge Ela said. If the high court takes longer to reach a decision, the judge indicated that a new deadline for filing of motions can be set at that time.
The hearing this morning was ordered by Judge Ela last Thursday, because no action had been taken by the Colorado Public Defenderís Office on its original proceeding. The public defenderís office, which is representing Botham, had asked for a stay of further hearings last May 19, because it planned to appeal Judge Elaís decision denying change of venue.
Botham is accused of killing his wife, Patricia, and their neighbors, Mrs. Linda Miracle and two children, Troy and Chad, last Aug. 23.
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