Case against La Paz County triple homicide suspect dismissed
PARKER — The case against a man accused of a 2016 triple homicide in the Salome area has been dismissed without prejudice. Last Friday, La Paz County Superior Court Judge Matthew Newman ordered the case dismissed against Kitage Lynch on the grounds the prosecution could not be ready to take their case to trial by Oct. 15, the state-mandated deadline for taking the case to trial.
Newman accused the La Paz County Attorney’s Office of “playing games” with the speedy trial rules rather than preparing the case for trial. By dismissing without prejudice, the prosecution can bring the case back at a later date.
La Paz County Attorney Tony Rogers said he was preparing a statement when asked Thursday for details. Lynch had been charged in the deaths of Lester Lindsay, 83, and Ella Lindsay, 76, of Wenatchee, Wash. and Alice Boyd, 81, of Bingen, Wash. on April 19, 2016. The homicides took place in an area off Salome Road that Phoenix-area residents often use for weekend getaways. In addition to the victims, La Paz County Sheriff’s Deputies found three homes had been burglarized and Boyd’s vehicle had been stolen.
A La Paz County Grand Jury indicted Lynch on Aug. 2, 2017 on three counts of first degree murder, three counts of burglary, one count of theft, one count of criminal damage, one count of theft of a means of transportation, and one count of cruelty to animals.
Lynch is currently serving a 15-year sentence in the Department of Corrections in Yuma for charges out of Maricopa County.
Lynch was arraigned on Aug. 20, 2018. The state sent out its initial disclosure statement the same day. It was 792 pages long, and listed 81 witnesses and contained 18 DVDs.
At a hearing Aug. 31 after the La Paz County Attorney’s Office asked to suspend the speedy trial rules in this case, Newman said it became apparent the County Attorney’s Office had done little to prepare for trial in the year since the indictment.
Newman suggested that, since Lynch is already in prison, the County Attorney’s Office could have the case dismissed without prejudice and bring it back when they were ready for trial.
Instead, the prosecutors filed a motion to set for trial Sept. 4. The prosecution did not say how they would have all their witnesses ready by Oct. 15. They also said they had reduced their request for DNA evidence and would provide it to the defense as it became available.
Newman questioned how the defense would be able to react with each fresh disclosure coming out in a “piecemeal” fashion.
“It appears obvious to this court that the state is more interested in playing games with the speedy trial rules than actually preparing its case for trial.” Newman wrote in his ruling. “By suggesting a truncated presentation of the evidence in its possession, the rights of the victims and their families are put in serious jeopardy. Moreover, the rights of Mr. Lynch to fairly confront the evidence against him and prepare his case for trial will suffer if he is somehow supposed to prepare his case ‘on the fly.’ The state has already admitted in open court that they are not even close to being ready to present their case.”
With due consideration to the victims, their families and the defendant, Newman ordered the case dismissed without prejudice. “This court will not sit idly while unprepared attorneys try to rush a case to trial because they don’t want to admit they are unprepared,” Newman said.