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7:59 PM Fri, Jan. 18th

Second Golden Valley murder trial delayed

The second murder trial of a Golden Valley man in a slaying almost two years ago has been postponed until September.

Chip Moray Smith is being tried again for the first-degree murder of Chris Darren Payton along Santa Maria Road in August 2001.

Smith's first trial ended in a mistrial March 21 after the jury declared itself deadlocked after deliberating for two days.

Smith's attorney, Michael Hruby, asked for the delay in the second trial because he has yet to receive court transcripts from the first trial.

He also asked Superior Court Judge Richard Weiss for an investigator and a crime scene expert.

Weiss granted the investigator but asked for a written motion for the crime scene expert with details on who it would be and the cost.

Over the objection of Deputy Mohave County Attorney Lee Jantzen, Weiss postponed the trial until Sept.


"This case is 2 years old and I don't see the need for a crime scene reconstructionist," Jantzen said.

Jantzen also said an Arizona Department of Public Safety evidence expert involved in the case is expecting to give birth to a child by the end of July and might not be available for several months after that.

Authorities originally thought Payton, 39, of Golden Valley was a victim of the fatal accident after his pickup flipped along Santa Maria Road early Aug.

13, 2001.

An autopsy later revealed a bullet wound to Payton's forehead and his death was ruled a homicide.

During the first trial, Jantzen relied on his lone eyewitness to the murder, Ashley Holmes.

For the second trial, Jantzen said he is trying to get one of several witnesses who were in Smith's car during the shooting but did not see Payton being shot.

That witness is now living in California.

Holmes had testified how an unusually angry Smith arrived at Payton's residence late Aug.

12 and how Smith drove her and her fiancé from the residence to the spot on the road where Payton also was driving a vehicle.

She also described how Smith slammed the brakes of his vehicle, grabbed a rifle and went to Payton's truck window.

After striking him with the gun and his fist, Smith shot him once in the head, Holmes testified.

Jantzen also argued that Smith, 32, who supposedly was Payton's friend, did not stop or even call police even though he said he drove past Payton's overturned truck and saw him lying there.

Hruby argued during the first trial that there was no DNA, fingerprint and other evidence that could be tied to Smith.

A bullet fragment from the 9 mm rifle used to kill Payton was r found in a nearby home but proved inconclusive as evidence, Hruby argued.