Trusted local news leader for Kingman, Arizona & Mohave County
Sun, Oct. 20

New murder trial likely for DeBarge

A Kingman man whose 1991 murder conviction was overturned appears headed for a retrail.

Mohave County Superior Court Judge James Chavez on Thursday ordered John Lee DeBarge Sr.

to appear in court July 22 and ordered him held on a $50,000 bond.

Chavez also set Sept.

3 for still another hearing, possibly to set a trial date.

By law, the state has 90 days to try DeBarge again.

Two months ago, the 9th U.S.

Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco upheld a 2001 ruling by a federal judge that overturned the murder conviction of DeBarge.


District Court Judge John Sedwick of Alaska overturned DeBarge's July 1991 conviction in the shaking death of a 10-month-old infant, citing ineffective defense counsel.

After thes ruling, DeBarge was released from custody.

DeBarge, who was not in court Thursday, faces the same charges of felony first-degree murder and one count of child abuse.

Chief Deputy Mohave County Attorney Jace Zack, who successfully prosecuted DeBarge's first trial, will again be prosecutor.

Phoenix attorney Randy Papetti, who represented DeBarge in Thursday's court hearing, said his client might request that a county public defender be assigned to his case.

During the first trial, Zack argued that the infant died from extensive skull fractures while in DeBarge's care.

DeBarge claimed she fell from a highchair.

Three medicals experts testified that the death was not accidental and that the injuries were not caused by a fall, court records show.

DeBarge was sentenced in August 1991 to life in prison with the possibility of parole in 35 years for the murder and a concurrent 22 years in prison for the child abuse charge.

Sedwick's reasons for overturning the conviction were that DeBarge's attorney failed to research injuries to a shaken infants, did not provide medical expertsand did not cross-examine the medical witnesses.

Sarah's House, the victim witness program, which is part of the Mohave County Attorney's Office, was named after the child.

Event Calendar
Event Calendar link
Submit Event

This Week's Circulars

To view money-saving ads

For as little as $3.49*