Although Kenneth Botham Jr. still had not obtained counsel, a Dec. 19 preliminary hearing date was set for him in Mesa County Court this morning.
The 27-year-old Botham is charged with four counts of premeditated murder of his wife, Pat, a neighbor, Mrs. Linda Miracle, and her two sons, last Aug. 23.
County Judge Harold Moss questioned Botham whether he had obtained a lawyer, and when Botham said he had not, Moss noted that he will assign private counsel.
The lawyer picked from the court list will look into Botham’s financial assets and represent him in criminal proceedings until a determination of his financial status is made. Judge Moss said he had been unable to contact several lawyers he had attempted to call this morning but hoped to contact one this afternoon.
Judge Moss noted that a private counsel can go into the value of a stock contract for purchase which Botham has and will be able to dispose of other assets which he may have.
In setting the preliminary hearing date even though Botham is not represented by counsel, Judge Moss noted that the request for such a hearing had been made on Nov. 20. There is a 30-day period in which a preliminary hearing must be held.
The hearing is to begin at 11:15 a.m. Dec. 19 and to continue on in the afternoon if it is necessary.
A preliminary hearing is held to establish whether probable cause exists to believe that a defendant is guilty of the crimes of which he is accused.
Under the law, a person who is unable to pay for his own defense is entitled to either the public defender’s services or those of a court-appointed lawyer paid by the court.
The district attorney’s contention has been that Botham has sufficient assets to pay for his own lawyer, and Judge Moss has indicated that he wishes to know the status of Botham’s finances before allowing him to proceed as though he were indigent.
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