FAIRFIELD — A double-murder jury trial scheduled to get underway this week was derailed Monday after the prosecutor revealed the doctor who performed the autopsies on the victims in 2010 refuses to testify.
Richard R. Calkins of Vacaville is accused of fatally shooting Richard M. Perez, 20, and Cameron S. Silva, 21, before wounding Sarah Berkheimer on Nov. 16, 2010.
Berkheimer testified at a probable cause hearing that she and the three men spent the night at Calkins’ apartment on William Street in Vacaville, eating psilocybin mushrooms, watching “Family Guy” on television and laughing until the shooting started at 2 a.m. Calkins was arrested a short time later at the police station after he allegedly vandalized the public lobby.
Calkins was in court with his defense attorney Monday morning when the prosecutor overseeing the case revealed that Dr. Susan Hogan said last week that she would rather go to jail than take the witness stand during the jury trial. Hogan, who in previous court appearances on unrelated murder hearings has been subjected to hours of intense cross-examination about other autopsy results, retired from the Solano County Sheriff/Coroner’s Office in December, according to a Sheriff’s Office official.
While the autopsy results in the Perez and Silva killings are largely undisputed, the testimony is an essential piece of the prosecution case.
Judge Donna Stashyn canceled the upcoming jury trial, a trial that has been often postponed, and ordered Calkins back to court Jan. 21 when prosecutors will announce how they want to move forward with the case.
Calkins, who has pleaded not guilty, is in jail without bail.
Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.