Murder suspect Jarrod Wyatt took the witness stand this week with the intention of speaking about an alleged conversation he had with authorities about changing attorneys.
Wyatt eventually went back to jail without speaking after his attorney withdrew a motion, filed as a result of the alleged conversation, to dismiss a special allegation in the charges that could result in a life sentence without the chance of parole.
In the motion, attorney Jim Fallman claimed that sheriff’s Commander Bill Steven had Wyatt pulled out of solitary confinement at the county jail to speak to him about his case; suggesting he drop Fallman and hire George Mavris and request a change of venue
Accompanying the motion was a declaration submitted by Wyatt.
During a hearing Wednesday, Del Norte Superior Court Judge William Follett advised Fallman that unless there was any new evidence presented regarding the conversation, he was likely going to deny it and questioned whether it was going to be beneficial to open Wyatt up to cross-examination.
After a brief recess speaking with Wyatt and his family, Fallman withdrew the motion.
“We will not be able to show prejudice,” said Fallman.
Steven had previously denied speaking with Wyatt about the case but did acknowledge that he spoke with Wyatt about upgrading him from his restricted status in the jail.
“Commander Steven’s integrity has been assaulted, with the insinuation that he was working for some ‘prosecution team’ to somehow wrongfully get evidence against Mr. Wyatt,” said District Attorney Jon Alexander during the hearing. “It was just another tawdry and concocted set of facts by the defendant aimed at avoiding responsibility for the brutal murder of Taylor Powell.”
Wyatt, 27, a former mixed martial arts fighter, is accused of fatally beating Powell, 21, of Crescent City, on March 21, 2010, in a gruesome attack that involved mutilation.
Wyatt told authorities at the time that he was under the influence of hallucinogenic mushroom tea and he believed his friend was the devil.
Wyatt faces charges of murder with special circumstances of torture and aggravated mayhem, using a deadly weapon while committing a felony, aggravated mayhem and torture.
Other motions including, permissible photos are scheduled to be heard on Aug. 15. The attorneys are still disagreeing on 11 of the more than 400 photos to be presented during the trial.
Wyatt’s trial is scheduled for Sept. 10 and expected to last two weeks.