Green River Killer Early Court Hearings
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Since his arrest, Gary Ridgway was being held without bail at King County Jail pending a January 2, 2002 hearing, in the King County Jail's "ultrahigh security" unit.

Ridgway was originally charged with 4 counts of aggravated 1st-degree murder and faces the death penalty if convicted of any one of the 1982-83 slayings of Carol Christensen, 21; Opal Mills, 16; Marcia Chapman, 31; and Cynthia Hinds, 17. Prosecutors link Ridgway to 6 others of the 49 victims attributed by police to the Green River killer.

12-20-2002 Attorneys for Gary Ridgway may ask for a change of venue in the case before it gets to trial.

``I wouldn't say we definitely will, but there's a strong likelihood of that occurring,'' said Mark Prothero, one of Ridgway's 8 attorneys. Prothero said a change of venue is ``typically a motion that's raised a couple of times.''

Superior Court Judge Richard Jones will make the decision.

If the request is made and granted it would mean moving the trial out of King County or jurors may be brought in from another county. The decision would be based on the extensive pretrial publicity, which is likely to increase as the March 2004 trial gets closer.

Defense attorney Todd Gruenhagen requested a December 2003 deadline for filing. Jones set the deadline for September, as it takes over 3 months to make arrangements for personnel, security and mailing out thousands of juror summons.

Sequestering the jury has been not yet been discussed.

December 18, 2001 -- The arraignment:

Extra officers were on hand for the hearing. Security was so tight one of Ridgway's attorneys, Mark Prothero, wasn't allowed in the courtroom once the hearing started.

``He doesn't deserve to live," Debra York, Cynthia Hinds aunt, told reporters before the arraignment.

December 18, 2001 Ridgway charged with aggravated first-degree murder in 4 deaths. Recent DNA tests linked him to three victims and circumstantial evidence linked him to the 4th.

Friends and family of the victims were escorted into to a space reserved for them in the front 2 rows of the courtroom, 2 minutes before the proceedings started

Ridgway was brought into court by several officers. Small in stature, with large glasses, he wore the white jail uniform of a high security inmate and ankle chains. Ridgway appeared relaxed during the the 10-minute appearance. He stood still, with his forearms resting on Judge Jeffrey Ramsdell's, bench as the prosecutor read the charges. When Jeff Baird, senior deputy prosecuting attorney, asked if his name was Gary Leon Ridgway he cocked his head and answered matter-of-factly, "Yes sir, it is." Baird detailed the charges for each of the 4 women. "...did cause the death of Marcia Chapman, a human being...did cause the death of Cynthia Hinds, a human being...did cause the death of Opal Mills, a human being ... did cause the death of Carol Christensen, a human being..."

The mention of the victims brought emotional, but quiet reactions from 11 relatives and friends of the victims as they whispered, cried or held hands.

Ridgway's defense attorney, Tony Savage, said "His plea is not guilty to all charges."

"They say he's guilty. Let them prove it. I don't think they can," Savage said, with Prothero beside him.

Prothero will be focusing on the DNA evidence prosecutors say link Ridgway to Chapman, Mills and Christensen. "We have to go back 20 years," Prothero said of the evidence, "and look at every hand it's been through. "Maybe it was all done correctly," he added, "but maybe a mistake was made."

"He thought the whole thing was over with. He thought the whole thing was given a run through in 1987," Savage said. "He went through lie detectors, searches, you name it. "He seems like an innocent man who's in a lot of trouble," Savage said. "They say he's guilty. Let them prove it. I don't think they can," said Savage , with Prothero beside him. "He's not despondent. He's not in tears," Savage said. Ridgway's family is "behind him 100%," he added.

Members of Ridgway's family did not attend. "They're not anxious to be TV stars," Savage said after the hearing. "You're not going to see them in court for a long, long time."

Ridgway's wife, Judith, "a very nice, bewildered lady," according to Savage, has hired her own attorney, Rebecca Wiess. "She expressed herself to me to be entirely behind her husband," Savage said. "But I wouldn't fault her for being concerned about where she stands and her assets stand."

He was ordered to appear in court again Jan. 2, 2002 when King County prosecutors will decide to seek the death penalty.

Savage predicted that it will take 2 years to prepare for trial.

In the courtroom, a dozen friends and relatives of victims watched from behind a glass barrier.

"Remember the victims, Opal Mills and Cynthia Hinds!" Debra York, Cynthia Hinds aunt, cried, Im just hurt. I just hope they got the guy, he dont deserve to live, killing my niece, Cynthia Hinds.

Denise Griffin, 35, still remembered of the last time she talked with her close friends, Opal Mills and Cynthia Hinds. "I can't even imagine what their last moments were like, what they endured," said Griffin. "And he knows." After the hearing ended, Griffin asked the others to "remember the victims."

One man yelled "dog!" to Ridgway or his lawyer.

Tim Meehan, older brother to Mary Meehan, 18, her death has not been connected to Ridgway, yet, but it might be someday. "I came because he is connected to the 4 and for the last 19 years we've been waiting for something like this to happen." Adding it made him angry that Ridgway seemed so confident. "He got away with killing people for who knows how long. It seems he thinks he'll get out of this too. It's just amazing that someone like him could get away with something like this," he said later. "He was shorter than I imagined."

After the hearing ended, friends and relatives of the victims were quickly escorted by bailiffs through a side door and taken to the prosecutor's office, where deputy prosecutors, and King County Prosecutor, Norm Maleng, spoke with them about the process expected to take up to 2 years to get to trial and answered their questions.

"They say he's guilty. Let them prove it. I don't think they can," Savage said, with Prothero beside him.

Prothero will be focusing on the DNA evidence prosecutors say link Ridgway to Chapman, Mills and Christensen. "We have to go back 20 years," Prothero said of the evidence, "and look at every hand it's been through. "Maybe it was all done correctly," he added, "but maybe a mistake was made."

"He's not despondent. He's not in tears," Savage said. Ridgway's family is "behind him 100%," Savage added.

Members of Ridgway's family did not attend. "They're not anxious to be TV stars," Savage said after the hearing. "You're not going to see them in court for a long, long time."

Ridgway's wife, Judith, "a very nice, bewildered lady," according to Savage, has hired her own attorney, Rebecca Wiess. "She expressed herself to me to be entirely behind her husband," Savage said. "But I wouldn't fault her for being concerned about where she stands and her assets stand."

"He thought the whole thing was over with. He thought the whole thing was given a run through in 1987," Savage said. "He went through lie detectors, searches, you name it. "He seems like an innocent man who's in a lot of trouble," Savage said.

King Count Prosecutor, Norm Maleng, announced a team of 4 deputy prosecutors to will handle the case. Jeff Baird, leading the team, Patricia Eakes and Brian McDonald and Marilyn Brenneman. Eakes and Baird won convictions against teenagers Alex Baranyi and David Anderson in the 1997 slayings of a Bellevue family. McDonald runs the juvenile section of the Prosecutor's Office and is experienced in criminal appeals.

The public will hear from Ridgway's defense team, but prosecutors and police made it clear they won't try the case in the media.

The DNA linking Ridgway to 3 people he is accused of killing is conclusive in one cases but less certain in the other.

Detectives are not speaking with him. "We're not allowed to talk to him unless he or his attorney initiates it," King County sheriff's Sgt. John Urquhart said.

The Arrest - The details of the arrest.

Initial Hearing- Detained without Bail - Pro-tem Judge Anne Harper determined there was probable cause to detain Ridgway, without bail.

The Prosecution - Senior prosecutor Jeff Baird will lead the prosecution team.

Potential Prosecution Witnesses - A number of witnesses have linked Ridgway to crime scenes and reported violent, sadistic and unexplained behavior.

The Defense - One of Seattle's most prominent lawyers, Tony Savage, has taken over Gary Ridgway's defense at the familys request.

Facts about Defense Counsel - Tony Savage, 71, has been a member of the Washington State Bar Association since 1955. He served as a King County deputy prosecutor from 1956 to 1962 and has been a lawyer for 45 years.

The Initial Defense Attorneys - Say it's important that Ridgway passed 2 polygraph tests in the 80's. One was administered in 1984, after Ridgway approached Green River investigators offering to help.

Certification for Determination of Probable Cause

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