The trial of a former Chico State student convicted of brutally murdering a prominent Chico couple in 1987 is making headlines again.
On Thursday, Steven Crittenden’s attorneys tried to get the Butte County District Attorney’s Office thrown off the case, but those efforts were unsuccessful.
Thursday’s hearing was for two motions: One to get the DA’s removed from the case, and the second one to prevent them from seeking the death penalty again. The judge denied both of these.
Crittenden was given the death penalty, but that conviction was overturned in 2013 on the grounds that the Butte County prosecutor dismissed the only black juror.
On Thursday, the defense argued racial bias, saying that still very much exists, even if implicitly, and that is what happened in this case.
But, the DA’s office has stood by the claim that she was removed because she did not believe in the death penalty, which is what they were seeking.
Mike Ramsey also said people were shocked at these allegations against the then-prosecutor.
“You couldn’t find a less racially motivated person, a fairer person. He was well known in the bar, and just in private conversations they were shocked that he would even be accused of such a thing,” Ramsey said.
The judge denied the motions because the defense failed to make a sufficient case to for recusal of the office and also failed to show why keeping them from pursuing the death penalty is necessary or legal.
This case received a lot of publicity when it was happening, and it was heard in Placer County so they could have a fair trial.
Now, the DA’s office is trying to reverse that change of venue motion and bring the case back to Butte County because almost 30 years has passed.