By Joyce Hensley
PENDLETON The attorneys for the Hermiston woman accused of shooting her husband have asked that Circuit Court Judge Rudy Murgo be removed from the case.
The request was granted and Judge Garry Reynolds will preside over the case of Kathleen Ruth Blankenship, accused of firing three shots on April 6 killing her husband in their home on Cooney Lane. Kathleen E. Bergland, Baker City, and Valerie Doherty, Hermiston, defense attorneys for Blankenship, also asked for an extension of a scheduled pre-trial conference and plea hearing for Blankenship. On May 8, after attorney Doug Fischer, asked to be excused from the case citing a conflict of interest, the newly-appointed legal team requested more time to study collected evidence and to prepare their defense.
Bergland also withdrew a guilty plea and a notice of intent to file motions of insanity and extreme mental disturbance previously entered by Fischer.
These kind of on-again-off-again things are expected in these major cases, said Umatilla County District Attorney Christopher Brauer. While it may appear that things are proceeding at a snails pace, and to the victims the time seems an eternity as the case winds its way through the courts, these kind of cases are expected not to be resolved too soon. A typical murder case may take one to three years to get to trial. (For the full story see the July 3, 2001 issue of the Hermiston Herald.)