A Sacramento judge today issued, but immediately stayed, a bench warrant for a former Davis police officer who has failed to respond to a subpoena to testify in the murder trial into the killings of two college students 32 years ago.
Deputy District Attorney Dawn Bladet requested the warrant from Superior Court Judge MIchael W. Sweet to compel the trial appearance by the former detective, Fred Turner, in the murder trial of Richard Joseph Hirschfield.
Bladet said marshals served Turner with a subpoena at his residence in Washington state. Turner had been scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday's first day of trial, but he did not show up and his not been in contact with the Sacramento District Attorney's Office. Bladet did not say when she now intends to have Turner testify.
The stay on Turner's bench warrant would presumably be lifted if he fails to respond to the subpoena.
The prosecution today brought on former Sacramento sheriff's criminalists to testify in the collection of evidence at the time of the Dec. 20, 1980, throat-slashing slayings of UC Davis "sweethearts" John Riggins and Sabrina Gonsalvez, both 18.
As a Davis police detective, Turner was the key investigator who pursued a theory that four other people were responsible for the Riggins and Gonsalves killings. The theory was discredited when DNA tests excluded the four people charged by the Yolo County District Attorney's Office.
Although the prosecution is expected to elicit only limited testimony from Turner, his appearance would likely provide defense attorneys Linda Parisi and Ken Schaller with their first opportunity to bring in the old Yolo County theory of the case, which they have proffered in their efforts to exonerate the 63-year-old Hirschfield.