Warne will be tried again

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By AMY LINDBLOM

Brenda Warne's family enjoyed a short-lived celebration yesterday outside a Tuolumne County Superior courtroom where a judge had just dismissed the murder case against her.

Jubilation quickly turned to shock when Warne's parents, Ruby and David Warne of Twain Harte, were told by Deputy Public Defender Clifford Woodall that their daughter would be rearrested.

Warne is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow, and will again face murder charges in the bludgeoning death of her boyfriend, 53-year-old John Tocalino, in June 2000.

She was convicted of second-degree murder for that crime in 2001, but the jury verdict was later overturned.

"I would be surprised if she wasn't arrested by the end of the day," Woodall told Warne's stunned family and friends who thought they were going to bring her home yesterday.

Warne was rearrested sooner than that.

Tuolumne County Sheriff's Investigator Tom Memmer followed Warne to jail and, at 11:45 a.m., arrested her. Warne, 39, is now held in lieu of $750,000 bail.

After being convicted in 2001, Warne was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison and had served a little more than two years at the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla.

But in February, the Fifth District Court of Appeal overturned Warne's conviction, citing an error DuTemple made during jury deliberations. On May 23, the Appeals Court sent the case back to Tuolumne County for either retrial or dismissal.

Warne was brought back to the Tuolumne County Jail and was in Tuolumne County Superior Court Judge Eric DuTemple's court Aug. 11.

But that was 20 days too late: Deputy District Attorney John Hansen had missed a July 22 deadline by which a new trial was to begin, and the defense asked for dismissal.

DuTemple yesterday said that, as "distasteful" as it was, he had no other legal options available to him but to dismiss.

Tuolumne County District Attorney Donald Segerstrom said that while the dismissal was unfortunate, it did not preclude further prosecution.

11509244
The Union Democrat
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