Opening statements have been delayed in the trial for two men accused of beating another man to death at a Seattle construction site more than two years ago, according to a Law Clerk for King County Superior Court Judge Catherine Shaffer.
The decision was made at a scheduling conference for Steven Douglas Bauder, 22, of Federal Way, and Marcus David Dennis, 20, a transient from Crescent, Iowa,who have both been charged with first-degree murder.
Pre-trial motions are expected to begin on September 20 before Judge Shaffer at the King County Courthouse, courtroom W-829.
Opening statements are expected on September 27, according to the King County Prosecutor’s web site.
The conferences in the coming days will help the judge sort out further scheduling, pre-trial motions and hopefully a date for opening statements, said Dan Donohoe, press secretary for the King County Prosecutor’s Office.
Bauder and Dennis are accused beating of Noel Richard Lopez, 25, originally from Odessa, Texas, to death with “several broken … two by fours, large metal construction supports called prop heads, a wooden support, a metal bar and a metal ratchet type tool,” according to charging documents obtained by The Examiner.
The King County Medical Examiner autopsy revealed that Lopez had “suffered several deep lacerations from blunt force trauma to his face and head,” charging documents said.
“The left side of his torso was covered in bruises, and he had fractured ribs on both sides of his body,” charging documents state. “One of the fractured ribs had pierced one of his lungs. His death, which was caused by the injuries to his brain and lung, was ruled a homicide.”
Bauder and Dennis both told investigators that they were enraged over reports that Lopez had been harassing a 15-year-old girl named M.C., said court documents said; they claimed they were mad because Lopez allegedly wanted to sleep with her.
If convicted of first-degree murder, Bauder and Dennis could face a standard sentencing range of 20 to 26 years in prison, according to Donohoe.
The trial is expected to last up to seven weeks.
The defendants remain in jail on $1 million bail, as requested by Cheryl Snow, the Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney handling the case.
Defense Counsel is Julie Gaisford and Peter Geisness.
When asked about a tattoo on his arm, Bauder said it meant that he was a “Juggalo” meaning he was a fan and follower of the rap duo “Insane Clown Posse”