Off death row, accused killer is back in Clallam
By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News
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He said Friday that he suspects jail inmates he served time with in the county jail in 1993 may claim that they spoke with him about the case and may testify against him, but he said he never spoke to any inmates about the case.
Stenson’s next court appearance is 1 p.m. Tuesday, when further hearings will be scheduled, county Prosecuting Attorney Deb Kelly said in a later interview.
Stenson, 59, was ordered Friday by Clallam County Superior Court Judge Ken Williams to be held without bail in Stenson’s first court appearance since May 10, when Stenson’s 1994 death-penalty conviction was overturned by the state Supreme Court.
The decision is being appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Stenson was charged earlier this week with two counts of aggravated murder in connection with the 1993 shooting deaths of his wife, Denise, and his business partner, Frank Hoerner, at the Stensons’ bird farm in Sequim.
Stenson was transported Thursday from the state penitentiary in Walla Walla to the Clallam County jail.
In addressing the court Friday, Stenson rejected the repeated advice of his court-appointed attorney, Kitsap County lawyer Roger Hunko, who participated in the hearing by phone and implored Stenson more than once to wait until they could discuss the case.
Stenson, who walked into court with a severe limp, said that while in jail 19 years ago on the charges for his first trial, he was approached by two inmates about his case.
“I was approached by two different individuals stating they had been offered some kind of preferential treatment if they could get me to admit to something guilty, and I just wanted to put it on the record now I have never spoken to anybody about my case, and I never will,” Stenson said.
“So if the prosecution comes up with some jailhouse witness because of this, it will be false,” he said.
“That’s all I got to say.”
Kelly said in the interview that she did not know what Stenson was talking about.
“I never heard that before,” she said.
“I don’t think it happened.”
Stenson also asked Williams, the judge in the trial that led to Stenson’s conviction, if Williams would be the presiding judge in Stenson’s upcoming trial, which has not been scheduled.
Williams is retiring at the end of this year, so he will not be the presiding judge, Williams told Stenson.
Kelly said in the interview that whether she will seek a second death-penalty sentence against Stenson will come up at Tuesday’s hearing.
Hunko is a death-penalty-qualified attorney, she said.
In overturning Stenson’s convictions, the state Supreme Court cited the withholding of evidence from the defense by the county Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
Kelly was an appointed District Court judge in 1994, when Stenson was tried.
The evidence, disclosed in 2009, consisted of FBI lab notes and photographs of then-county Sheriff’s Detective Monty Martin wearing the same bloody jeans worn by Stenson the day Stenson’s wife and Frank Hoerner were murdered.
Stenson had claimed he kneeled by the victims after they were shot.
Kelly said in an earlier interview that Martin wore the pants at the request of a Prosecuting Attorney’s Office expert witness who never testified at the trial.
The expert witness “was having [Stenson] move in ways to see if the blood on the pants could be created by the movements that Stenson described,” Kelly said.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at email@example.com.
Last modified: July 21. 2012 5:42PM