A major development today in the 1987 double murder of a prominent Chico doctor and his wife. Today convicted killer Steven Crittenden appeared in Placer County Superior Court for the start of his proceedings in his re-trial.
In 1989, Crittenden, a Chico State student at the time of the murders, was convicted of killing and torturing Dr. William and Katherine Chiapella in their Chico home. The conviction was overturned by a Federal District Judge last year. In asking for the re-trial, Federal District Court Judge Kimberly Mueller faulted prosecutor Jerry Flanagan for dismissing the only black person from the jury pool. Flanagan said he dismissed the black juror because she adamantly opposed the death penalty.
Today, attorney Jodea Foster was appointed as his public defender and Crittenden, now in his 40's waived his 60 day speedy trial right. Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey filed a motion to a reverse change of venue to bring the case back to Butte County.
On March 20th Crittenden will be back in court to be assigned a date for a change of venue hearing. After today's hearing, Crittenden was transported back to San Quentin's Death Row. No execution date is set at this point.