Resetting of trial settings was the order of the day in Judge Christopher Wilson’s courtroom this morning, as attorneys requested delays in scheduling trial dates for accused murderer David Alan Kobak, attempted-murder suspect Hugo Parral-Aguirre and suspected embezzler Carmen Marie England.
The trial for Kobak, 76, won’t be scheduled until at least June 10, as the prosecutor, Deputy District Attorney Whitney Timm, plans to be out of the office for several months. Kobak has been in jail since Aug. 25, 2017, the day he allegedly shot his roommate Frederick Loftus to death in their Seventh Street apartment. Kobak told Eureka police he shot the 58-year-old Loftus, his close friend, after Loftus insulted him and punched him in the face.
Deputy Conflict Counsel Meagan O’Connell, representing Parral-Aguirre, told Wilson her client needs to meet with a defense expert “and after that we’ll be prepared to set a trial date.”
The next setting date for the 30-year-old Parral-Aguirre is Dec. 17. He is charged with attempting to murder two sheriff’s officers, one of whom was shot in the shoulder, on Dec. 16, 2017, during an alleged hostage-taking at a dairy farm near Ferndale. Parral-Aguirre is a Mexican national who is in the United States illegally. He allegedly opened fire with a shotgun when the officers arrived after receiving a report about a dispute.
Wilson also granted Deputy Public Defender Casey Russo’s request for a delay in setting a trial date for England, accused of embezzling more than $60,000 from the North Coast Journal during the decade she worked there as a bookkeeper. The Public Defender’s Office inherited the case from private attorney Michael Robinson, who represented England from May 2017 through her preliminary hearing last month.
“This case involves voluminous accounting-type discovery,” Russo explained in requesting the continuance. Deputy District Attorney Steven Steward did not object, saying his office is doing more investigation in the matter. Trial setting is now scheduled for Jan. 15.
Judge Kelly Neel held England to answer after a lengthy preliminary hearing, during which England admitted she regularly changed budget numbers to balance the monthly books at the Journal. England testified that she did so, however, on the instructions of Publisher Judy Hodgson.
Neel indicated the prosecution’s case seems somewhat shaky and suggested attorneys try to negotiate a settlement. They were unable to do so.