FAIRFIELD — Defense attorneys say they need months, probably at least eight of them, before they will be ready to go forward with the preliminary hearing for a Fairfield man accused of raping and strangling a Suisun City girl in February 2013.
The pair of deputy public defenders working for Anthony L. Jones pin blame for the delay on the District Attorney’s Office and its handling of the controversy swirling around the doctor who performed the autopsy on 13-year-old Genelle Conway-Allen. The same doctor also performed dozens of other autopsies in homicide cases now being called into question.
The defense team renewed accusations against prosecutors of witness tampering, obstruction and perjury. They also renewed an effort to have Jones’ case thrown out or to have the District Attorney’s Office removed from the case.
Judge E. Bradley Nelson scheduled an April 10 hearing for the defense requests at which District Attorney Donald A. du Bain and at least two of his top prosecutors are expected to be called as witnesses.
Nelson also pointed out, as he has at past hearings, that the cause of death in Conway-Allen’s death is largely undisputed.
Nelson once again mentioned the email the doctor, Susan Hogan, wrote to a prosecutor shortly before Jones’ arrest that triggered a series of events that included a secret investigation into Hogan and her medical competency. The investigation resulted in her abrupt termination last year. In the email, Hogan said she thought Conway-Allen’s death may have been an accident while she was engaging in consensual sex.
Nelson also scheduled a July probable cause hearing for Jones, but his attorneys were quick to say it would be impossible for them to be ready for the hearing in just four months.
The defense attorneys said they still had not received all the documents from the coroner’s office about Conway-Allen’s autopsy and once they did have those documents they would be getting their own doctor to review the autopsy.
Hogan’s email prompted du Bain and his top prosecutors to meet with Sheriff Thomas Ferrara, who oversees the coroner’s office. The meeting led to a secret months-long investigation that resulted in Hogan’s abrupt termination.
It has only been in recent weeks that the defense team in Jones’ case learned that the investigation and termination included hundreds of pages of documents that may affect not only Jones’ case, but nearly 40 other homicide cases in Solano County.
Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.