Court roundup: Chad Smith to have 3rd trial set in sex abuse case

Suspect in multiple cases faces new charges in burglary

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New trial for former teacher to be set Wednesday

A man who has seen two criminal trials end without a verdict being rendered will be back in court Wednesday for a trial confirmation hearing.

Chad Alan Smith, a former restaurant owner and former substitute teacher who has been charged with 16 counts related to the sexual abuse of a child, remains in custody despite a mistrial declared in his first trial in 2018 and a hung jury on May 2 that ended his second trial short of a verdict.

Smith

Smith, who appeared in court in custody on Tuesday, was present for a hearing regarding a motion filed by his defense attorney Andrea Sullivan, who has requested materials related to one of the people involved in the case.

“I have filed a motion for the release of subpoenaed records,” Sullivan told Superior Court Judge Lawrence Killoran before the hearing was suspended and Killoran ordered the matter moved into another department to be heard in front of visiting Judge Kay Tsenin.

When Sullivan and Deputy District Attorney Stacey Eads returned to the courtroom, Tsenin asked Sullivan about the request specifically, “Why is that relevant?”

That led to a private conversation between the attorneys. Tsenin said after the discussion she would take the time to review documents and come back to the matter.

Smith, initially arrested in 2017, has remained in custody since.

A new date for a third trial will be set Wednesday.

Man awaiting trial faces new charges in burglary case

A man who has already been held to answer to home invasion and armed robbery charges stemming from an incident in March is facing additional charges after he was arrested while out on probation.

McKinleyville resident Trayten Hunt, 26, appeared in court in custody Tuesday wearing jail-issued clothing as he was assigned a new attorney by visiting Superior Court Judge Samuel Stevens.

Hunt

Hunt, who was previously represented by the Conflict Counsel Office, will now be represented by private defense attorney Kathleen Bryson.

“At this point, I have to make sure I don’t have a conflict,” Bryson told Stevens.

In a phone conversation later Tuesday, Bryson confirmed she has no conflict with anyone related to Hunt’s leading case, the home invasion and armed robbery. However, she will still have to determine she can handle the newest charges as well.

“I have not looked at all the witnesses the other case and I’ll do that before Thursday and I’ll be able to say yes or no to the court,” Bryson said.

Hunt was arrested by sheriff’s deputies and Arcata Police following a vehicle pursuit on May 25 after he had been identified as a suspect in a burglary. The pursuit ended near Willow Creek when Hunt was tracked down by an Arcata K-9. Hunt now faces additional charges of burglary, grand theft, receiving stolen property and a special allegation the crimes were committed while he was on supervised release.

Hunt will be back in court for a hearing on Thursday.

Dan Squier can be reached at 707-441-0528.

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