No verdict yet in double-murder retrial in Kitsap County

By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ORCHARD — The jury is still out in Darold Stenson’s double-murder trial in Kitsap County.

Deliberations began Oct. 31 and continued through last Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday without a verdict.

The jury, which does not meet Fridays and has Monday off for Veterans Day, will resume deliberations at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney Deb Kelly said.

Stenson, 60, is charged with two counts pf first-degree premeditated murder for the shooting deaths of his wife, Denise Stenson, and business partner, Frank Hoerner, on Kane Lane near Sequim on March 25, 1993.

Stenson’s 1994 conviction was overturned by the state Supreme Court in May 2012 and remanded back to Clallam County for a new trial.

Clallam County Superior Court Judge S. Brooke Taylor granted a modified change of venue in which he is presiding over the case in Kitsap County Superior Court in Port Orchard.

The Kitsap County jury, which was selected Sept. 18, is considering six weeks of witness testimony and nearly 600 exhibits.

Jury views videotape

Last Monday, the jury reviewed a videotape walkthrough of Stenson’s exotic-bird farm taken shortly after the shootings, a Clallam County sheriff’s sergeant’s audio interview with Stenson and another video walkthrough of the Stenson residence, Kelly said.

The jury was silent for the remainder of the week, she added.

Stenson is being held without bail in the Kitsap County jail.

In closing arguments Oct. 30, Kelly said the jury had “overwhelming” evidence to convict Stenson of two counts of murder.

She argued that Stanson killed his wife for insurance money and shot Hoerner because he owned Hoerner money. She also said he tried to make the killings appear as through Hoerner committed a murder-suicide.

Defense attorney Roger Hunko of Port Orchard said the state failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Stenson committed the crimes.

Stenson spent 14 years on death row and was eight days away from being executed by lethal injection when a judge issued a stay of execution in November 2008.

If reconvicted, he would face life imprisonment without parole.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at rollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: November 09. 2013 5:37PM
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