Judge to decide whether murder case will proceed
In arguing for a motion that could throw out the murder charge stemming from 1986 against his client, attorney Ken Bonham said prosecutors had plenty of time and opportunities to bring Ulysses Roberson to justice in El Dorado County.
“You just can’t sit back and wait, and we believe that’s what the district attorney’s office did,” Bonham, a deputy public defender, said in El Dorado County Superior Court.
On Friday, arguments on a motion filed by the defense argued the case should be dismissed because Roberson’s due process rights were violated. The motion prompted a three-day hearing, with the first day in June, that wrapped up last week.
Roberson, 56, is accused of killing his 4-year-old son, Alexander Olive, in a Tahoe Keys home in 1986. Roberson was extradited from a Washington state prison to face his South Lake Tahoe charges in August 2003.
Alexander’s body has not been found.
While the prosecution argued investigators never let up on the case and pursued leads as best they could, Bonham said the cooperation of key witness Raj Roberson could have been obtained earlier.
The passage of time likely influenced the recollection Raj Roberson, an integral part of the Roberson clan consisting of multiple women and children in the Keys home along Montreal Road, had of Alexander’s disappearance.
“We believe her memory of the event could be suspect or even impaired,” Bonham said.
Bonham also noted that evidence, including blankets, a section of carpet and a piece of firewood, was tested for DNA in the late 1990s but the means for such testing was available a decade earlier.
Judge Suzanne Kingsbury said little, except that her decision should arrive shortly.
In his response, Assistant District Attorney Hans Uthe said charges would not be filed until the office believed a suitable case could be applied to Roberson.
Witnesses, including Raj Roberson, were pursued and until recently cooperated with authorities.
Attacking Bonham’s memory expert who testified memories deteriorate over time, Uthe said the expert never interviewed witnesses in the case.
“We’re not talking a fender-bender here,” Uthe said. We’re talking about the act of murder of a young child.”
Uthe added Roberson decided to fight extradition to California from California, thus delaying South Lake Tahoe prosecution.
Bonham said evidence and witnesses provided chances when charges could have been filed against Roberson soon after the alleged crime. Uthe believed otherwise.
“It wasn’t just quite enough yet,” Uthe said.
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