Karl Karlsen’s trial date of Feb. 13 was vacated Monday in Calaveras County Superior Court, and his attorneys proposed a new trial date of June 5.
Calaveras County District Attorney Barbara Yook said she would have to confirm the proposed date with prosecution witnesses who are expected to testify.
Judge Thomas A. Smith set a trial-setting hearing for Jan. 11 to confirm the proposed date, or select a new date.
Karlsen, 56, appeared in court in a green-and-yellow prison uniform.
Smith asked him if he would agree to resubmit a time waiver that would allow the trial to occur outside of 60 days from his previous hearing on Dec. 18, to which Karlsen replied, “Correct, yes.”
Karlsen’s public defender, Tony Salazar, said he and public defender Leigh Fleming spoke to Karlsen before the hearing and convinced him to resubmit the time waiver that he pulled at the previous hearing.
“It would be much too soon than we would be ready for,” Salazar said.
Salazar said he initially planned to file a continuance motion for the trial after Karlsen pulled the time waiver against his advice. Smith said even though the continuance was not filed, he would have found good cause for the continuance because of “volume of material” associated with the case.
Smith asked Salazar if they would be ready by June if the date was set, and Salazar responded, “Yes, we will be.”
Salazar and Fleming were assigned to represent Karlsen on Oct. 2 after Karlsen’s previous lawyer, Scott Gross, declared a confidential conflict of interest one day before jury selection was set to begin.
Karlsen is accused of murdering his wife, Christina Karlsen, by starting a fire at their home in Murphys in 1991 to collect a $200,000 life insurance policy in her name.
Karlsen was sentenced to 28 years to life in Seneca County, New York, after he pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder in the death of his son, Levi Karlsen, and committing insurance fraud to collect on an insurance policy he had submitted just days before Levi’s death.
Yook also inquired whether Smith would be present at the next hearing date and during a prospective trial in June.
“I could be, but I don’t know what the judicial council has in mind,” Smith said.
Smith is an assigned judge to the Calaveras County Superior Court.
Judge Timothy Healy of the Calaveras County Superior Court previously recused himself and assigned Smith to the case “for all purposes” during the Dec. 18 hearing.
Smith said Healy could sit in during the next hearing for trial-setting purposes.
Jury selection and the trial is estimated to last about a month.