Trial has been delayed until June for a man accused in a January home invasion and fatal assault of a Park Point resident.
Darrel Darryl Mayhew, 31, of Duluth is accused of striking 70-year-old Larry Watczak over the head with a blunt object before taking off with his cellphone, tablet computer and roughly $2 in cash. Although Watczak was able to briefly speak with police, he quickly slipped into a coma and died 10 days later.
Mayhew in March pleaded not guilty to charges of intentional second-degree murder, unintentional second-degree murder, aggravated first-degree robbery and first-degree burglary.
Jury selection was set to begin Tuesday, but the prosecution on Monday asked 6th District Judge Dale Harris for a continuance.
Assistant St. Louis County Attorney Vicki Wanta told Harris that prosecutors need time to review court transcripts that won't be available until the end of May, she said, as well as about 700 pages of Watczak's medical records.
In addition, two of the prosecution's witnesses are out of town and unable to appear for trial this week, Wanta said.
Wanta is taking over as prosecutor for Assistant County Attorney Rebekka Stumme, who is winding down her caseload as she prepares to assume a judgeship in Carlton County. Wanta told Harris she'd had the Mayhew case only for about a week and that the continuance would give her time to catch up.
Harris granted the request, and the trial now is set for June 4.
Mayhew, who is representing himself after dismissing his public defender last week, opposed the delay in court Monday, characterizing the continuance as "stall techniques."
In pleading not guilty, Mayhew waived his right to make any evidentiary or constitutional challenges and demanded a speedy trial, which by law must be held within 60 days unless the court finds good reason to delay proceedings.
Harris granted the continuance, finding it advisable to allow time to review transcripts and records. He reminded Mayhew that the extra time could benefit Mayhew's defense as well. Mayhew dismissed the judge’s suggestion.
"I'm ready for my trial," Mayhew told the judge more than once during Monday's hearing.
"Personally, sir, I don't think you are ready," Harris replied.
Wanta also asked Harris for a motion hearing on whether statements that Watczak made to police before he died will be admissible in court. That hearing is scheduled for May 8, with a further pretrial hearing set for May 20.