Butte County judge considers removing DA in murder retrial
A Butte County judge is considering whether or not to allow the Butte County District Attorney to re-try a high profile murder case.
It's the retrial of Steven Crittenden, the Chico State football player who was convicted of killing a Chico doctor and his wife back in 1987. Crittenden's attorneys are trying to get the Butte County District Attorney thrown off the case.
The murder will be re-tried nearly 30 years later because Crittenden's conviction was overturned by a Federal District Court. A judge found that the original prosecutor, Gerald Flanagan, was motivated by race when he dismissed the only black juror at the trial.
Because of that, Crittenden's attorneys have asked that Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey and his office be kicked off the case. They're calling the alleged racism 'egregious,' 'flagrant' and 'intentional misconduct' by the original prosecutor.
Ramsey says this is absolutely absurd. "It is an injustice in itself that 29 years later, based upon that record of alleged racial bias, which is not there, that this family has to re-go this trial," Ramsey said.
The defense is also asking the judge to throw out the death penalty as an appropriate consequence. Ramsey opposes this as well.
On February 8, a judge will decide whether or not the Butte County District Attorney will remain on the case if the death penalty will still be applicable, and if Crittenden will be re-tried here in Butte County.