A Tuolumne County Superior Court judge postponed the trial of a Big Oak Flat man accused of murder and kidnapping to Nov. 28, following the holiday weekend, after rejecting a motion by the defendant to fire his court-appointed attorney.

Elton Redick, 43, gave two barely audible responses to Judge Kevin Seibert Monday morning in court — refusing a plea deal made by the Tuolumne County District Attorney’s Office, and affirming his desire to file a Marsden motion to fire his attorney, Scott Gross.

Redick appeared in court on Monday dressed in a red Tuolumne County Jail jumpsuit and was escorted by two Tuolumne County Sheriff’s deputies.

Redick is charged with first-degree premeditated murder and a special allegation enhancement for the use of a firearm in the commission of the murder; and the charge of kidnapping a victim and another special allegation enhancement for the use of a firearm in the commission of a crime.

Redick was arrested Sept. 26, 2017, outside of the Claim Jumper Outpost in Big Oak Flat, one day after Marc DeJong, 48, was discovered dead at a property where they both lived on Black Road in Big Oak Flat.

During Redick’s preliminary hearing in October 2017, two Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office deputies said they discovered DeJong dead from two gunshot wounds to the head and face, and covered with a blanket in a locked shed on the property. A firearm was found near the scene by investigating deputies.

Law enforcement also testified a woman on the property claimed she saw the murder and was locked in a travel trailer by Redick for over two hours.

The Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office issued an alert for Redick, who was then known to use an alias, Christopher Reed, before finding him the next day less than a quarter-mile away from the murder scene.
He has been held in the Tuolumne County Jail since his arrest.

If convicted, Redick faces a maximum sentence of 50 years to life in prison for the murder charge and the special allegation enhancement, and 18 years for the kidnapping charge with the special allegation enhancement.

During the hearing, Gross related that the offer from Tuolumne County District Attorney Laura Krieg would have dismissed the kidnapping charge. At a potential sentencing hearing, Gross said he would have also asked for the enhancement to be lifted from the murder sentence, reducing Redick’s possible prison time to 25 years to life.

“Their case is a very strong case,” Gross said.

Gross said he urged his client to take the offer, but Redick was unwilling.

Seibert interjected in the discussion to explain to Redick that the kidnapping charge could result in a determinate sentence, which would not allow for an early release, while the murder charge was considered an indeterminate sentence and could allow for an early release.

Redick started toward the table in front of him and shook his head. Krieg then said, due to Redick’s repeated refusal, the plea deal would no longer be available.

At the end of the hearing, Seibert cleared the courtroom of spectators and Tuolumne County District Attorney’s Office officials to hear the confidential Marsden motion filed by Redick, but denied the motion when the public returned.

Seibert scheduled a trial readiness conference for Nov. 27 in Department 2 of the Tuolumne County Superior Court, where Gross said he would plan to file a Miranda motion. Jury selection is scheduled to begin the next day.

Krieg said the trial would likely last for three weeks based on the court’s scheduling of hearings on a Wednesday-through-Friday schedule. She said she had fewer than 10 witnesses to call.

Redick’s new trial date had previously been scheduled to begin on Wednesday, Gross said, but the parties agreed to postpone it due to its proximity to the Thanksgiving holiday.
“We thought this date would be best,” Gross said.

Before the hearing, Gross said Redick’s previous trial date of May 23 was vacated due to the scheduling of a mental competency evaluation for the defendant. Gross had received the results of the mental competency evaluation, but said they had not been revealed in open court.

It was possible, but unlikely, that the results would be shared with the jury during the trial, he said.

“It’s a very tragic event that occured. We’re going to let the jury decide the issue,” he said.

Contact Giuseppe Ricapito at (209) 588-4526 or gricapito@uniondemocrat.com . Follow him on Twitter @gsepinsonora.