The preliminary hearing has been postponed for a Rio Dell couple and a co-defendant charged with murdering a man who died from burns after a hash lab explosion in the couple’s garage.
Today Judge Christopher Wilson granted a continuance motion from attorney Ben Okin, representing 23-year-old Arron Michael Mohr. Okin said he is not prepared for the preliminary hearing set for Tuesday because he must review “an extremely large amount of discovery from the District Attorney’s Office.”
Okin said he also has to go through many subpoenaed records he requested.
Co-defendant David Gerald Paul expected the hearing to proceed next week, and Wilson granted the delay over the objection of Paul’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Kelly Neel. Wilson explained to Paul that if one co-defendant shows good cause for a continuance, he must grant it for all.
Wilson set an Oct. 25 hearing to discuss the issue again, noting that Paul “just heard about this (the request for a delay) today.” The judge said he wanted to give Neel a chance to speak with Paul. Defendants have a right to a preliminary hearing within 60 days of arraignment, and for Paul the 60th day is Nov. 7.
David Paul, 38, his wife Tamara Gayle Paul, 33, and Mohr are charged with the murder of 21-year-old Xavier Paul Renner, who along with Mohr was renting the Pauls’ garage as a cannabis-extraction lab. The butane-fueled operation exploded in a ball of flames on Nov. 9, and Renner died from his burns a few weeks later.
Mohr was arrested Sept. 6 and the Pauls on Sept. 12. They are being held on bail of $1.5 million each.
The three are charged under the felony murder rule, which allows a charge of murder if a person dies during the commission of specified crimes, even if the death was accidental. One of those qualifying crimes is manufacturing drugs by chemical extraction.
The three also face other drug allegations, and the Pauls are charged with child endangerment. They have a young son and daughter who are being cared for by relatives while their parents are in jail.
Tamara Paul is represented by Eureka attorney Larry Killoran, who did not object to the delay. Nor did Deputy District Attorney Luke Bernthal, standing in today for Deputy District Attorney Adrian Kamada.