A bail hearing on March 22 for an alleged murderer ended with a trial being set.
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Attorney Erik Schlueter argued that Andrew Sanford’s bail should be reduced — or even given a monetary value, rather than no bail — to no avail.
When it was originally set, Schlueter noted, the case had been a death penalty case, but that sentence was “no longer on the table.” The criminal conduct concerning the case happened more than 30 years ago, and his conduct since then, excepting a 2010 case concerning false imprisonment and domestic violence, had been exemplary.
Sanford had no job, “sitting in jail,” as well as no home, but is a mechanic and could find both. He noted that Sanford has friends in Sacramento that would help him get on his feet. He had not failed to appear at any hearings.
Deputy district attorney Trish Kelliher asked the court to follow the recommendation of the bail report to not change the bail at all. She said that Sanford has no ties to the community, a “lack of civility” and employment, a “rather substantial” criminal list, including the aforementioned domestic violence charge, and Sanford had disappeared after the murder of Richard Swanson — the crime Sanford is currently charged with. In 1982, Sanford was brought back to the area to answer for the theft of a car from Raymond Ficklin’s lot. Sanford was staying with Ficklin’s family at the time of the murder, hanging out with Don Ficklin at the South Y Shell Station in South Lake Tahoe, where the murder occurred in 1980. Kelliher also noted Sanford used aliases in the past.
The flight, Schlueter said, was to go live with Sanford’s mother and sister in Los Angeles, and that he had a clean criminal record until 2010 with the domestic violence issue.
Judge James R. Wagoner said that while the death penalty was no longer being considered, Sanford could be sentenced to life without parole. He said he would follow the recommendation and would keep Sanford in custody with no bail.
The focus then shifted to a conditional hearing that had been tentatively planned for April 5. Kelliher said that one of the witnesses is “facing serious medical issues” and lives out of state. As the witness will require treatment, a hearing is needed before trial so he can provide testimony.
The defendant, Schluter said, has federal constitutional rights, and this hearing — at the state level — would sidestep those rights. He also said the affidavit on the matter was “very light on facts” and he could not determine whether the witness could delay treatment.
Kelliher and Schlueter approached the bench to argue the matter. After a minute, they stepped back, with Wagoner announcing that the he supports Kelliher and could not in good conscience delay the treatment for the witness. The hearing was set for April 5 at 1:30 p.m. in Department 1, with a March 29 hearing to confirm. Being that the hearing could not be set without a trial date, Wagoner set the trial, estimated to take six weeks, for Oct. 1 at 8:30 a.m.