Benton City teen's murder trial moved to April

Tri-City HeraldJanuary 9, 2014 

Noah Matlack Court

Noah M. Matlack, the 18-year-old suspect in the slaying of a Benton City man, makes his first appearance Wednesday afternoon in Benton County Superior Court. He pleaded innocent to first-degree murder for the Sept. 8 death of Michael Edwards.

BOB BRAWDY — Tri-City Herald Buy Photo

— The trial for a Benton City teen charged with the fatal stabbing of a disabled man has been postponed to April 28.

Noah M. Matlack agreed Thursday to the three-month delay.

He is charged in Benton County Superior Court with first-degree murder.

Defense attorney Alexandria Sheridan told Judge Sal Mendoza Jr. in a brief hearing that "some additional issues" have come to light in the last few weeks, so they wouldn't be ready for the scheduled Jan. 21 date.

Sheridan added that she doesn't know if April will be a firm date.

Matlack and Noel A. Gonzalez are accused of killing Michael Edwards on Sept. 8 in the parking lot of the Assembly of God church in Benton City.

Edwards, 55, was stabbed with a knife several times about 11:30 p.m. His body was then dragged behind a shed and found by a neighbor about eight hours later.

Edwards' home was ransacked after his death and his safe was pried open. Items taken included coins and a gun.

Also Thursday, Mendoza said he will allow the deposition of Dr. Carl Wigren, who did the autopsy.

The Seattle forensic pathologist will be leaving Jan. 25 for almost seven months for a fellowship in New Zealand, and won't be available for the trial.

Deputy Prosecutor Terry Bloor said they've tentatively scheduled Jan. 22 to do the recorded deposition. He added that a copy of the autopsy report was given to the defense on Dec. 23.

Sheridan said a deposition is allowed under court rules when a witness can't attend trial, but added that she objects to the timeliness of the request since the defense was only given several weeks to prepare for questioning Wigren. A deposition is treated the same as if the witness were on the stand in front of jurors.

Sheridan told the court that admissibility of the deposition is a different issue, and she will be addressing that closer to trial.

Gonzalez's trial is set to start Feb. 24.

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