A request to fire his attorneys by a man charged with murdering a young woman almost 40 years ago was denied Tuesday in a closed hearing at Kern County Superior Court.

Prentice Foreman, 60, will continue to be represented by Public Defender Pam Singh and Paul Cadman, a deputy public defender. 

Also Tuesday morning, Judge Michael G. Bush issued a gag order in the case after both defense counsel and prosecutor Gina Pearl said they were in favor of one. A temporary gag order had been issued last week, and Bush's ruling will continue to prevent attorneys and investigators from discussing the case in public. 

Foreman is accused of killing 18-year-old Dawn Koons, who was last seen the evening of Jan. 12, 1979. Four days later, her body was found inside the bathroom of her apartment in the 2200 block of South Real Road.

Police found her naked in a bathtub, her wrists tied and a pillowcase covering her head. It was determined she had been strangled.

Foreman, 60, told investigators in 1979 that he didn' t know the victim, and would just say "hello" to her when he saw her around the apartment complex, where they both lived, according to a probable cause declaration filed last month. He said he was never inside her apartment.

Semen taken from the crime scene was retested, and in October returned a hit matching Foreman's DNA profile, the declaration said. Detectives arrested Foreman Dec. 20 on a charge of first-degree murder with special circumstances. He faces the death penalty if convicted.

Earlier this month, Cadman told The Californian a fingerprint matching another man, a now-dead sex offender, was found at the crime scene.

Foreman is being held without bail. He's next due in court Feb. 8. 

Jason Kotowski can be reached at 661-395-7491. Follow him on Twitter: @tbcbreakingnews.

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