Accused killer Jarrod Wyatt’s defense attorney will take the unusual step of trying to present enough evidence at a pre-trial hearing next week to cap or throw out the murder charge prosecutors are seeking for the brutal slaying.
Wyatt is facing first-degree murder charges for killing his friend Taylor Powell, 21, at a home outside of Klamath on March 21. A Del Norte County judge will determine after the preliminary hearing whether District Attorney Mike Riese presented enough evidence of murder — and of aggravated mayhem and torture — to put the case before a jury.
But Wyatt’s defense attorney James Fallman will present what is known as an affirmative defense, in which the defense can call its own witnesses in an effort to show that the first-degree murder charge should be reduced to a second-degree charge or be thrown out altogether. Fallman would not say whether he intends to mount an insanity defense, in which the defendant must be shown to be unable to distinguish right from wrong, or to understand the nature of his act.
Wyatt has pleaded not guilty to the charges.