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Motion to join sex assault cases denied

by Eric Mullens
WALSENBURG — Defense motions to join the cases of two Walsenburg men accused of kidnapping, sexually assaulting and assaulting a John Mall High School student in September 2011 were denied by the court in two separate hearings last month.
Defense attorneys representing Laqun Murphy, 30, and Daniel Wilburn, 26 appeared in district court on March 29 asking the court to combine the two cases. District Judge Claude Appel denied those motions but granted several others associated with the two cases.
The court in January 2012, had denied a motion by District Attorney Frank Ruybalid to try the defendants together.
The pair face charges that include sexual assault, second degree kidnapping, false imprisonment and third degree assault.
The minute order from the March 29 hearing in Murphy’s case indicated the prosecution will provide expert witness (SANE nurse) opinion and training material no later than Monday of this week, and information regarding any other expert witnesses to the defense 30 days prior to trial and that parties will provide stipulated jury questionnaires to the court one week prior to trial. A defense motion to suppress evidence in the case was denied at the late March hearing and two other motions were taken under advisement. Two defense motions will be heard at a 1:30 pm hearing on April 17. Eleven other motions filed by Murphy’s defense attorney were granted, although the minute order did not specify what they were.
Murphy was represented by deputy state public defender Michael Thompson.
The minute order in Wilburn’s case indicated a motion for discovery by the defense was granted and that information was to be provided by the prosecution to the defense no later than Monday, April 7. A motion regarding the expert witness training manual and the SANE nurse opinion was granted with a deadline of April 9.
A further hearing in the matter has been set for 1:30 pm Tuesday, April 17.
According to the Huerfano Combined Courts website, Wilburn will face a two week trial beginning at 8:30 am, Monday, May 7, 2012. The website does not contain information regarding Murphy’s trial date.
The pair were arrested the day after the 17-year old victim was allegedly assaulted, which occurred on both the high school campus and the new sports complex located adjacent to John Mall High School and Peakview Elementary.
Both defendants remain in the Huerfano County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bond each.

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