In Summit County attempted murder case, defense seeks more information
A Dillon Valley East man accused of striking his wife of two weeks in the head with a hatchet was in Summit County District Court Thursday for a status conference.
Michael Newcomb, 43, is charged in district court with attempted second-degree murder, second-degree assault with a weapon during the course of a felony and first-degree assault, all Class 3 felonies; two counts of menacing, a Class 5 felony; and third-degree assault, a Class 1 misdemeanor.
The charges stem from a Jan. 31 incident in which Newcomb allegedly attacked his wife with a hatchet and a pipe the family used as a doorstop, fracturing her skull, according to a warrantless arrest affidavit. The alleged incident was fueled by Newcomb’s suspicions that his wife was cheating on him, according to court records.
On Thursday Newcomb’s attorneys, Dale McPhetres and Reed Owens of the public defenders office, told 5th Judicial District Judge Karen Romeo that the 5th Judicial District Attorney’s Office had not provided certain discovery items as ordered Sept. 19 during the last hearing.
Specifically, McPhetres and Owens filed motions for statements made to law enforcement and medical personnel by Newcomb’s wife immediately following the alleged incident, notes from Summit County’s victim’s advocates office and any criminal records relating to Newcomb’s wife and her son.
McPhetres said the son is suspected of having a juvenile record and Newcomb’s wife is suspected of being the victim in two similar, but unrelated cases involving two different men.
One of those cases is believed to have taken place during the 1990s, McPhetres said. The timeframe for the other alleged incident is unknown as it is thought police records from that case have been destroyed. It wasn’t stated whether or not either one of those two previous cases took place in Colorado.
Newcomb’s wife also is thought to have accepted a plea deal for a recent driving under the influence conviction. McPhetres requested the details of that arrangement also be provided for discovery.
In addition to reiterating their requests for certain records, McPhetres brought it to the court’s attention that although Newcomb’s wife signed a waiver to have her medical records released to the district attorney, that waiver has since expired. McPhetres is still in the process of researching applicable case law, but said he thinks expiration of that waiver could limit certain medical testimony should the on-call emergency room doctor be called to testify at trial.
“Since that waiver has expired I believe the doctor involved in this case would be able to testify and provide an expert medical diagnosis, but he would be prohibited from delivering an opinion about how the wounds were inflicted and any statements made by the victim,” McPhetres said.
A four-day trial is slated to begin Jan. 7, 2014.
If convicted, Newcomb faces presumptive sentences of four to 12 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections and fines of $3,000 to $750,000 for the Class 3 felony charges, according to Colorado Revised Statutes. He also faces sentences of one to three years and fines of $1,000 to $100,000 for the Class 5 felony charges. A Class 1 misdemeanor is punishable by six months to 18 months in DOC and fines of $500 to $5,000, according to state statute.
Mark Franklin, deputy district attorney for the 5th Judicial District, appeared Thursday on behalf of the prosecution.
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