WOODLAND — As promised, the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office has refiled a murder charge against James Elron Mings, whose case was abruptly dismissed last week during the jury selection phase of his trial.
Mings, 37, pleaded not guilty to the single felony count Monday in Yolo Superior Court. He also waived his right to a preliminary hearing in the case, which is due back in court March 19 for setting of a trial date.
The case was in the early stages of a jury trial last week when the prosecuting attorney, Deputy District Attorney Martha Holzapfel, fell ill. At first, plans were made for her supervisor Rob Gorman to select a jury, but on Thursday he requested a continuance, citing his and Holzapfel’s differences in opinions regarding prospective jurors.
Judge Paul Richardson declined to grant the delay, however, and dismissed the case at the request of Mings’ attorney when prosecutors said they would be unable to proceed until Holzapfel returned. The dismissal was only temporary, however, and the murder charge was refiled on Monday.
Mings is accused of fatally strangling his friend, 42-year-old Kevin Gerard Seery of Davis, on Oct. 1, 2011, at Seery’s J Street apartment. During an alleged confession, Mings told police that Seery, who suffered from multiple ailments, asked Mings to help him end his life, according to court documents.
“There is much more to this case than has previously been reported,” Mings’ attorney, Deputy Public Defender Dan Hutchinson, said following Monday’s arraignment hearing. “Mr. Mings and I are relying on the public to keep an open mind and reserve judgment until all of the facts emerge at trial.”
Mings is being held without bail at the Yolo County Jail.
— Reach Lauren Keene at [email protected] or 530-747-8048. Follow her on Twitter at @laurenkeene