A unanimous California Supreme Court ruling, announced on Thursday morning, impacts a possible death penalty case in Ventura County.
Joshua Packer is accused of killing Brock and Davina Husted and their unborn child in May 2009 at their Faria Beach home.
Public defenders want Chief Deputy District Attorney Michael Frawley taken off the case because his children were in the same Youth Life Ministry years before the murders.
The court ruled that an evidentiary hearing should be held to decide the matter.
Chief Deputy Public Defender Michael McMahon hopes his client can avoid the death penalty by offering to plead guilty in return for a sentence of life without parole.
McMahon issued the following statement; “I have no doubt that Mike Frawley truly believes he can be fair and impartial, but research proves that we are often blind to our own biases and personal embroilment. Endless litigation of this issue would serve no one’s interest. We are heartened that the Chief Justice and the unanimous Supreme Court looked hard at the known facts and agreed that the evidence already presented supports the inference that Mike Frawley’s personal entanglement in the case has interfered with and will continue to interfere with the defense’s ability to investigate and present potentially significant mitigating evidence on the issue of Life or Death. The additional evidence which we would submit at an evidentiary hearing will clearly establish that someone unrelated to the witnesses should prosecute the case or, better yet, settle the case for Life without Possibility of Parole, an offer that has been on the table the entire time.”
Prosecutors said a gag order prevents them from commenting on the ruling or case.
To read the opionion go to, www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/S213894.PDF