hearing for double-manslaughter suspect Marcia “Marci” Kitchen
has been postponed a third time, this time until May.
This morning Judge
Christopher Wilson reluctantly granted a defense motion to continue
the hearing, which had been set for March 20. The new date is May 8.
Kitchen, 39, of
Fortuna allegedly was driving drunk on Eel River Drive the night of
July 12 when her Jeep Wrangler struck and killed two 14-year-old
girls skateboarding on the road. One was her own daughter, Kiya
Kitchen, and the other her daughter’s friend Faith Tsarnas. Marci
Kitchen reportedly stopped briefly and then fled, returning about 10
minutes later. Tsarnas was already dead, and Kitchen’s daughter
died the next morning.
District Attorney Stacey Eads strongly objected to another delay in
the case, saying relatives of the victims have waited too long for
“We have family
members who very much want a resolution in this case,” Eads told
the judge. She noted the deaths occurred in July, Kitchen was
arraigned in September, and the original preliminary hearing date was
Oct. 6. It was continued until December at the request of the
defense, then until March.
Eads also indicated
the defense has requested some funding from the county, which she
said is not appropriate given what Kitchen can afford.
“Ms. Kitchen has
retained two private counsel, posted $750,000 bail and traveled to
Mexico multiple times,” Eads said.
Patrik Griego objected, saying outside the courtroom later that any
funding requests are “before the court” and not public.
co-counsel Ben Okin told Wilson they need time to complete their own
investigation. They said they recently received more evidence from
the District Attorney’s Office, and they have subpoenaed records
from third parties that have not been received.
this is a complex case, and the prosecution has an advantage because
they were able to complete their investigation before charges were
filed. But he warned Okin and Griego that this is the final delay.
“I want a
realistic date when this can proceed,” Wilson said. “This is the
second (postponement) over an objection. I do want to see counsel
prepared for a hearing. “
After speaking for a
few minutes outside the courtroom, Eads and the defense attorneys
agreed on a date of May 8. A confirmation hearing was scheduled for
Highway Patrol investigated the fatal crash for two months before
turning their findings over to the District Attorney’s Office.
Kitchen and her boyfriend Josh Pearlston were both in the Jeep when
it struck the teens, and the identity of the driver was in question. [CORRECTION: See below.]
Investigators eventually concluded Kitchen was driving, because of both physical evidence and her own statements to friends and relatives. The Jeep Wrangler involved in the wreck was found the next day in Kitchen’s yard about two miles away.
Charges include vehicular manslaughter, felony drunken driving and hit-and-run. Kitchen remains free on bail and did not attend the hearing this morning.
The preliminary hearing, held to determine whether there is enough evidence to warrant a trial, is expected to last five days and include 11 witnesses.
- Fortuna Fatal Hit-and-Run: CHP Seeks Public’s Help in Tracking Down Marcia Kitchen and Josh Pearlston
- Marci Kitchen, Suspect in Death of Two Girls in Fortuna, Arrested on Vehicular Manslaughter Charges, Released on Bail
- Marci Kitchen Will be Arraigned This Afternoon on Numerous Charges, Including Gross Vehicular Manslaughter, Sheriff’s Office Says
- Marci Kitchen Arraigned for Killing Her Daughter, Another Teen in Hit-and-Run
- Marcia ‘Marci’ Kitchen Hearing Postponed Until March
- Facing Charges of Killing Her Own Daughter and Another Teen in Hit-and-Run, Marcia Kitchen Files Claims For Damages Due to Road Conditions
CORRECTION (see above): There is no evidence, so far as we are aware, that Pearlston was in the Jeep when it struck the girls. Today (Thusday, March 9), the California Highway Patrol and the District Attorney’s Office each declined comment when we asked them about it.
The Outpost regrets the error.