Date pushed back for Tarwacki double murder trialPublished 5:30pm Monday, April 8, 2013
CASSOPOLIS — The trial date for Keith James Lintz, a Niles man charged with killing Niles couple John and Carolyn Tarwacki in February 2010, has been pushed back at least 60 days.
The original trial date was set for May 7, but Cass County Circuit Court Judge Michael Dodge on Monday granted a motion by the defense to adjourn the trial for 60 days.
Lintz’ defense attorney, Greg Feldman, said the prosecutor’s office sent him a large amount of discovery about three weeks ago — so much discovery that he wouldn’t be able to adequately prepare for trial by May 7.
There is a chance the trial could be pushed back as far as August as Doug Baker, special prosecutor with the state Attorney General’s Office, said he already has a trial commitment in July.
Dodge’s ruling came during a pretrial hearing Monday in Cass County Circuit Court. Dodge denied several motions by Baker Monday, including one to allow the testimony of a woman Lintz allegedly beat while Lintz was living with the woman in Tennessee sometime after the Tarwacki murders. Her testimony would be important, Baker said, in enhancing the credibility of another witness said to have heard Lintz confessing to killing the Tarwackis.
Feldman called the motion a veiled attempt to admit an act of domestic violence unrelated to the trial that would badly prejudice the jury. Dodge agreed.
Dodge also denied a motion by Baker to call an expert witness to testify about the effect of methamphetamines on the user. Baker said witnesses would testify that Lintz was a regular user who used meth in the hours leading to the Tarwacki double slaying.
Dodge denied the motion, saying expert testimony in regards to the effect of meth on a person is not currently recognized legally in Michigan.
The Tarwackis were found dead in their home on Carberry Road in Niles on the morning of Feb. 5, 2010. According to autopsy reports, John and Carolyn were both stabbed multiple times and shot twice.
Police received 725 tips and interviewed 381 people in four states before arresting Lintz in October 2012 near N. 16th Street in Niles. He was charged with two counts of first-degree murder.
The case is being prosecuted jointly by the Michigan Attorney General’s Office and the Cass County Prosecutor’s Office.
First-degree murder carries a penalty of mandatory life in prison without the possibility of parole.