What was hoped to be the final step in the justice for murderer Steven Swinford was tripped up yesterday with the announcement of a delay in sentencing. Earlier this month a jury had found Swinford guilty of murdering his long time friend, Paul Raney in January of 2011.
Superior Court Judge Lesley Allan had set sentencing for tomorrow morning but a last minute filing by Swinfords defense attorney has now postponed the hearing. Attorney Jeremy Ford filed a request for a retrial for Swinford in ChelanCounty Superior Court this week which led Judge Allan to continue the sentencing hearing to Thursday March 22nd.
At that time Judge Allan will hear arguments for a retrial and rule on the validity of the request. Should she rule in favor of a retrial a new trial date will be set. If Judge Allan denies the request, the sentencing phase of the criminal proceedings will take place immediately following the ruling.
ChelanCounty Deputy Prosecutor Doug Shae who has twice tried Swinford on the murder charges, did not want to comment on the surprise filing for a retrial. The first Swinford trial resulted in a hung jury last fall and Prosecutor Shae immediately filed the documents for second trial.
Efforts to reach defense attorney Jeremy Ford for comment were unsuccessful.
We spoke with members of the Raney family yesterday and of course they are very discouraged by the delay in sentencing but remain confident that justice will be served. They just want to close this chapter of the senseless act and try to find what peace they can as they live out the rest of their lives without their son, brother, grandson, nephew and uncle…. Paul Raney.
KOZI will be in the courtroom for the hearing on March 22nd.