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Re-trial for double murder suspect resumes

September 23rd, 2013 - 5:44am

(Port Orchard) - The retrial of a former Sequim man whose murder conviction and death sentence were overturned resumes today in Kitsap County.

Prosecutors aren't seeking the death penalty in the retrial of Darold Stenson, who has been charged with two counts of aggravated murder in connection with the slaying of his wife, Denise, and a business partner, Frank Hoerner, at the Stensons' exotic bird farm. The trial was moved from Clallam County, where the crime occurred.

Last May, the state Supreme Court reversed his 1994 convictions, citing the withholding of evidence from the defense by prosecutors. The high court said that the state "wrongfully suppressed" photographs that raised questions about mishandling of evidence, as well as an FBI file that wasn't provided to the defense until 2009, years after Stenson was convicted.

A jury was seated in the case last week. Today a Clallam County Superior Court judge is expected to rule on another attempt to remove the prosecutor from the case. They say she could be biased because her mother wrote an unpublished manuscript on Stenson's first trial in the mid 1990's.

The trial was moved to Kitsap County due to publicity in Clallam County.

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