A Franklin County judge told a 39-year-old woman Thursday that she is not allowed to contact her 8-year-old daughter -- the sole witness to her grandmother's slaying.
A no-contact order was first issued in Tashia L. Stuart's murder case after her March 3, 2011, arrest. But the order had a one-year expiration.
So Prosecutor Shawn Sant asked Judge Cameron Mitchell on Thursday to extend the order another year so Stuart cannot have contact directly or indirectly with the girl or come within 500 feet of her.
The girl is living in another city with her father and his wife.
Stuart is being held in the Franklin County jail on $500,000 bail after being charged with first-degree murder with aggravating circumstances.
Prosecutors allege she killed her mother, Judy Hebert, after the two argued.
Stuart has claimed self-defense, saying she shot her mother after Hebert came at her with an ax. Her then-7-year-old daughter was the only other person in the Salmon Drive home at the time.
Defense attorney Bob Thompson said Stuart did not object to the no-contact order.
The trial was set in September but Thompson told the court that both he and co-counsel Peter Connick of Seattle have other trials scheduled that month.
Mitchell asked if Thompson had checked Connick's availability for that date, saying "barring any extraordinary circumstances" he doesn't want to move the trial date again.
Thompson assured him that the new Oct. 24 trial date will hold.
Sant said the state still is trying to coordinate with the defense attorneys for Stuart and her estranged husband, Todd, before moving forward with DNA testing. A couple of items of evidence can only be tested once so nothing will be left for the defense to test independently.
Todd D. Stuart, 48, is accused of conspiring with his wife to try to kill Hebert a couple weeks before her death. He is charged with attempted first-degree murder, but has been warned he could face a murder charge if he doesn't plead guilty before the trial.
The couple and Tashia Stuart's daughter moved to the Tri-Cities to live with Hebert in January 2011.
Todd Stuart moved out of the house three days before Hebert was killed. He was picked up on an arrest warrant in January in California. His trial is set for Sept. 12.
-- Kristin M. Kraemer: 582-1531; email@example.com