As supporters of both the murder suspect and his alleged victim looked on, Judge John Feeney granted a continuance today in the Juvenile Court trial of a 15-year-old Eureka boy accused of stabbing another teen to death at Oceanview Cemetery.
Christopher Craft had been scheduled for trial next week. But today defense attorney Christina Allbright told the judge she needs more time to complete her investigation, and also to obtain a transcript of the preliminary hearing for Craft’s mother, Lorna Jean Leen.
Two weeks ago Judge Gregory Elvine-Kreis dismissed charges against Leen, who also had been charged with the Aug. 9 killing of 16-year-old Brandon Brocious.
Leen, now out of jail, attended the hearing this afternoon along with a teenage girl and a middle-aged man. Brocious’ mother, stepfather and father were also in the audience, wearing black T-shirts labeled “Justice for Brandon.’’
Craft wore a green T-shirt labeled “Humboldt County Juvenile Hall.”
At the time of the killing, Leen and her son were living in a camp in the woods bordering the cemetery.
Today Deputy District Attorney Jessica Watson objected to the defense request for continuance, noting the case was filed in August and the last court hearing was five months ago.
“I don’t understand the reason for the delay,” Watson said.
Allbright said the investigation is incomplete because her investigator recently died and hadn’t finished her work on the case. Investigator Mary “Max” Hadley was killed in a motorcycle crash in Fairfield.
Also, Allbright said, she needs a transcript of Leen’s preliminary hearing. Leen may be a witness in her son’s trial and “needs to be interviewed.”
Feeney found good cause for the continuance and scheduled Craft’s trial for June 11, with a pretrial May 28.
Today Craft sat next to Allbright at the counsel table. She put her arm around him and patted his back.
During Leen’s preliminary hearing eyewitness Jane Doe, 15, testified Craft stabbed Brocious in the chest with a foot-long kitchen knife while Leen held her back. The knife punctured Brocious’ pulmonary artery, esophagus and lung and struck his spine.
Craft had been Jane Doe’s off-and-on boyfriend for several years. Three days before the stabbing she began a relationship with Brocious. The dispute that ended with Brocious’ death began earlier Aug. 9 after Craft allegedly took Doe’s cellphone while she and Brocious were asleep.
In his March 27 ruling dismissing charges against Leen, Elvine-Kreis said he was skeptical Jane Doe could see the stabbing, which occurred in the pitch-dark and up to 90 feet away from where Doe and Leen were standing.
Leen told Eureka police Brocious and Doe were assaulting her son, and she pulled Doe off.
All three teens had reportedly been using methamphetamine throughout the day.
Craft also goes by the last name of Sterling.
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