NOTE: This story was updated March 14 to include a written statement from District Attorney Dan Dow.
At a March 13 hearing, SLO County Superior Court Judge Dodie Harman agreed to allow attorney William McLennan to work with defense attorneys for Daniel Ruiz Rodriguez Johnson, who is charged with two counts of murder for allegedly killing 27-year-old Carrington Jane Broussard and the 9-month-old fetus she was carrying.
At the hearing, Johnson's public defender, Kenneth Cirisan, said he needed a second attorney to assist him with the case, noting that it was complex for a number of reasons, including that Carrington's fetus was one of the victims in the case.
"That kicks it into the special circumstances realm," he said.
Those special circumstances make it a capital murder case, meaning Johnson could face life in prison without parole or the death penalty if found guilty. McLennan has worked on several high-profile capital murder cases, including that of Rex Krebs. McLennan is also serving in a similar capacity on the ongoing capital murder case of Carlo Alberto Fuentes Flores, who is charged with murdering Paso Robles resident Nancy Woodrum.
The hearing in Johnson's capital murder case occurred just hours before Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order halting any further executions in California. Newsom said he signed the moratorium because he believed the death penalty was unfairly and disproportionately applied, calling it "ineffective, irreversible, and immoral."
The moratorium would grant
The SLO County District Attorney's Office is currently prosecuting at least three potential death penalty cases. In a written statement to New Times, District Attorney Dan Dow said that Newsom's executive order would not impact how his office proceeds with potential death penalty cases.
At the March 13 hearing, Johnson didn't enter a plea in connection with the charges against him. Another hearing for Johnson was tentatively scheduled for early April. Δ