Longest-incarcerated Clallam County inmate won't get out of jail soon; trial again delayed for man held since 2011
Bobby J. Smith
By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News
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Clallam County Superior Court Judge George L. Wood granted the continuance Friday. Defense attorney Karen Unger and Deputy Prosecutor Ann Lundwall agreed to it.
Smith, 60, of Port Angeles is charged with first-degree premeditated murder in the shooting death of his next-door neighbor in June 2011.
He has maintained his innocence, saying he shot Robert Fowler in self-defense.
Smith is being held in the Clallam County jail on $1 million bond.
Unger, who will be unavailable Sept. 9, advised that the defense is prepared to go to trial but that an evidentiary hearing was needed, according to the minutes of Friday's hearing.
Wood set an evidentiary hearing for Sept. 19.
Smith's trial has been delayed four times within the past nine months and five times within the past 14 months.
New trial dates were set June 2012, November 2012, Feb. 21, May 10 and Friday.
Reasons for the delays have ranged from witness availability, new evidence, a forensic investigation, psychological analysis and the appointment of new counsel.
Unger took the case from Harry Gasnick of Clallam Public Defender in May.
Smith, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, was found competent to stand trial in May 2012.
Port Angeles police said Smith shot Fowler, 63, multiple times with a .45-caliber pistol until Fowler stopped moving on the living room floor of Smith's residence on Vashon Avenue.
Smith phoned 9-1-1 after the confrontation.
He was not charged until a three-month crime lab investigation had been completed.
Smith had moved to Amarillo, Texas, by the time the murder charge was filed in September 2011.
He was arrested by a team of Texas Rangers in October 2011 and flown back to Clallam County by a pair of Port Angeles police officers.
Attorneys agreed Friday to telephonic testimony at trial by the Texas Rangers.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last modified: August 17. 2013 6:51PM