HANFORD — A second jury trial for Todd Pate, who is accused of the 2013 killing of his wife, Melanie Pate, was supposed to start this week, but is being pushed back to September.
Pate’s first trial in August 2016 ended in a hung jury and mistrial because one of the 12 jurors felt the evidence did not support a conviction of first-degree murder.
After being postponed several times in both 2017 and 2018 and then again earlier this year, Pate’s second jury trial was scheduled to begin this past Monday. Last week, however, that trial date was vacated.
Phil Esbenshade, Kings County Assistant District Attorney, said the trial was again continued at Pate’s request. He said Pate initially requested a continuance pursuant to California Penal Code 1050 for two reasons.
The first reason was that he had health concerns. The motion was denied on that basis and Esbenshade said the DA’s office opposed the request to continue.
Esbenshade said the second basis was that Pate’s assigned investigator needed to complete additional investigation prior to proceeding to trial. He said a long hearing was conducted regarding this request and the assigned judge ultimately granted Pate’s request to continue.
The trial was rescheduled to Sept. 16. Visiting retired Judge Edward Lacy of Stanislaus County is assigned for all purposes and will oversee the jury trial.
Pate’s prior attorney died last year and Pate is now Pro Per with an appointed “standby” counsel only. This means Pate will represent himself at all stages of the trial.
Esbenshade said the DA’s office will continue to oppose any delays and are committed to obtaining justice for the friends and family of Melanie Pate.
“We will do everything within our power to ensure that this trial proceeds as scheduled in September,” he said. “It has been five years, this community deserves justice.”