For the second time in a month, Prentice Foreman — charged with murder in the death of a woman 40 years ago — has been denied a request to fire his attorneys.
Foreman, 60, will continue to be represented by the Public Defender's office after a judge denied his Marsden motion Thursday afternoon. Another Marsden motion brought by Foreman in mid-January was also denied.
Marsden hearings are closed to the public; it's unclear what issues Foreman has brought up.
Nevertheless, there's been a shakeup in the public defenders representing him.
Previously, Public Defender Pam Singh and Deputy Public Defender Paul Cadman were Foreman's attorneys. On Thursday, however, Deputy Public Defender Ernest Hinman replaced Cadman before the Marsden motion was even heard.
It's unclear what led to the change. A gag order has been issued in the case and attorneys are barred from speaking about it.
Also Thursday, Judge John S. Somers granted a motion from the defense for pretrial discovery that includes any documentation from the Bakersfield Police Department as to the chain of custody of DNA evidence taken from the crime scene.
Prosecutor Gina Pearl said she will contact the lead investigator with that request. She said other items are are currently being tested for DNA evidence, but the defense has everything she plans to use during Foreman's Feb. 16 preliminary hearing.
Foreman is accused of killing 18-year-old Dawn Koons, whose body was found Jan. 16, 1979, in a bathtub in her apartment, according to court documents. Her wrists were bound, and a pillowcase covered her head.
A pathologist determined she had been strangled.
Semen found at the crime scene was retested in recent years, and in October returned a hit matching Foreman's DNA profile, according to the documents. He was arrested Dec. 20 and charged with first-degree murder with special circumstances.
He faces the death penalty if convicted.
Questioned by police in 1979, Foreman said 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 in the 2200 block of South Real Road, according to the documents. He said he was never inside her apartment.
Before the gag order was issued, Cadman told The Californian a fingerprint matching another man, a now-dead sex offender, was found at the crime scene. Pearl at the time said she couldn't comment on a pending case.