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Retrial against Steven Crittenden for Chiapella murders may end up in Placer Co. after all

The retrial of Steven Crittenden for a 1989 murder of a prominent Chico doctor and his wife will not take place in Butte County after all, now that the death penalty is off the table in California.

Posted: Jan 26, 2019 9:39 AM
Updated: Mar 23, 2019 4:57 PM

OROVILLE, Calif. - Butte County's District Attorney says the Governor took away his leverage in a tentative deal to retry death row inmate Steven Crittenden.

Crittenden was convicted of murdering Dr. William Chiapella and his wife Katherine in their Chico home in 1989.

His convictions were overturned by a federal judge in 2013, who ruled the only prospective black juror at Crittenden's trial was excluded because of race.

Crittenden had tentatively agreed to the second trial taking place locally in exchange for dropping the death penalty, but D.A. Mike Ramsey says with the governor ordering a halt to executions Crittenden changed his mind.

Ramsey says it will be three to four times more costly to prosecute the case at the Placer County courthouse in Roseville, where a trial date will be set on April 12, 2019.


OROVILLE, Calif. - The  retrial of convicted double murderer Steven Crittenden could take place in Butte County after all as part of a tentative deal with Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey.

Defense attorneys say Crittenden would agree to be tried locally, in exchange for prosecutors not seeking the death penalty.

This deal follows a judge's ruling a week ago, that the retrial must be held in Placer County  because of extensive publicity.

Crittenden was convicted of killing Dr. William and Katherine Chiapella in their Chico home in 1989.

The convictions were overturned in 2013 by a federal judge who said the prosecutor dismissed the only black juror because of race.

Butte County District Attorney Ramsey maintains that juror was excused because she was opposed to the death penalty.

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