The death penalty murder trial of Angela Darlene McAnulty will begin as scheduled Feb. 1, a judge decided Thursday after a brief hearing on a defense motion to postpone the case.
The 42-year-old north Eugene woman is accused of fatally starving, maiming and torturing her 15-year-old daughter, Jeanette Maples, who reportedly weighed only 50 pounds when she died in December 2009.
Jeanette’s stepfather also faces aggravated murder charges in her death. Prosecutors have said they will not seek the death penalty for Richard Anthony McAnulty because the facts don’t justify it in his case. The couple are being tried separately. Richard McAnulty’s case is scheduled for trial May 3.
Angela McAnulty appeared in court Thursday as her attorney, Ken Hadley, asked Lane County Circuit Judge Mary Ann Bearden to postpone the trial until May 1.
Hadley cited four reasons. He told Bearden that his co-counsel, Steven Krasik, needed more time to prepare because a Marion County bank bomb case in which he participated lasted a month longer than anticipated, ending Dec. 22. Krasik then flew to California because of a family member’s medical crisis, he said.
Hadley also cited the defense team’s trouble working with Angela McAnulty “because of her crying and her moods.”
A defense psychiatrist prescribed medication that improved her condition, Hadley said, but the doctor still needs “considerable time” to probe McAnulty’s mental state over the past few years.
The psychiatrist has warned that doing so would most likely cause “a serious mental decline” that could make McAnulty psychotic and unable to assist in her defense, Hadley said.
Angela McAnulty ap-peared composed Thursday, sitting erect at the defense table in a black jacket and pants.
The defense also needs more time to review more than 3,000 pages of prosecution evidence it received in late November, Hadley told Bearden.
Finally, he said, postponement would give the defense time to use “important information” it believes could lead to settlement of the case.
But Lane County Dis-trict Attorney Alex Gardner and prosecuting Deputy District Attorney Erik Hasselman told Bearden that they had made clear “from day one” that they did not intend to settle the case. Gardner said the facts in the case “cried out” for a jury to consider the death penalty.
Hasselman also said the prosecution provided the bulk of its evidence to the defense last spring. The documents provided this fall were “almost entirely” records from California child protective services detailing that state’s efforts to terminate her parental rights. A court there did so for Jeanette’s two older siblings, but returned the girl to her mother’s custody.
The deputy district attorney said all attorneys in the case have “extremely busy trial schedules,” and that the defense in November told the judge in the case, Lane County Senior Circuit Judge Kip Leonard, that they didn’t have a mental incapacity defense for McAnulty.
Bearden swiftly ruled that the trial would proceed Feb. 1.
It is expected to last as long as six weeks, Hasselman said in an interview after the ruling.
Some of that time will be consumed with an unusually careful jury selection process because of the potential death penalty, he said. That process will begin Jan. 31, when a panel of 150 prospective jurors are convened for preliminary screening — most likely in the Lane County Public Service Building’s Harris Hall.
Those who pass that process will then appear in a court one by one to answer questions from Leonard and prosecution and defense attorneys.
Once a jury is seated, the guilt phase of the trial is expected to last more than two weeks. If McAnulty is convicted, the jury will then be asked to decide her sentence, Hasselman said.