PASCO -- Defense lawyers for a Pasco man charged with killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend have 30 days to decide if they want a higher court to review a judge's decision not to dismiss the case.
Franklin County Judge Craig Matheson said the clock started Wednesday for Kurtis Robert Chapman to file an appeal with the Washington state Court of Appeals, or even the state Supreme Court.
Attorney Matt Rutt has previously said he was considering the move after Matheson twice refused to drop the case.
The defense believes that Chapman's constitutional rights were violated when a Pasco detective listened to a recorded jail conversation between Rutt and Chapman. Matheson has ruled that Pasco police Detective William Parramore, along with three other police officers, listened to the call in good faith as part of an investigation into possible obstruction.
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Chapman's Franklin County Superior Court trial on charges of second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter is set for Sept. 21. But an appeal, if accepted by the higher court, would bring the case to a halt until a ruling is issued.
Prosecutors allege Chapman strangled Shenay Greenough, 19, in May 2010. The West Richland woman's body was found two days later under a Pasco home belonging to Chapman's brother.
Greenough's nearly full-term daughter also died.
Two separate hearings are set for September, in the weeks before trial, for Matheson to determine whether evidence should be suppressed and statements Chapman made after his arrest in Pendleton should be excluded from the jury. Chapman is said to have essentially confessed to the crime when he was interviewed by detectives.
Parramore, the lead investigator on the case at the time, did most of the questioning.
Rutt and Prosecutor Shawn Sant agreed in February that Parramore and the three officers who overheard the jail recording are prohibited from testifying at trial.
Matheson clarified Wednesday that he signed that order because he wanted to "prevent any taint from recorded statements from the jail having an impact upon further investigation of the case or the defendant's right to a fair trial."
But he said he didn't think there is an issue with Parramore taking the witness stand at the pretrial hearing about Chapman's statements.
* Kristin M. Kraemer: 509-582-1531; email@example.com