03-Mar-87 1152 MST Sb APut 03/02 Charboneau Defense JEROME, Idaho (AP) - An attorney accus
03-Mar-87 11:52 MST
Sb: APut 03/02 Charboneau Defense
JEROME, Idaho (AP) -- An attorney accused of basing his defense strategy on clairvoyance in the first-degree murder case of Jamie Charboneau says he has never believed in the supernatural.
"I don't believe in psychic phenomena, then or now," Golden Bennett, a former attorney for Charboneau, said at a hearing before 5th District Judge Philip Becker Friday.
Charboneau's latest attorney, Greg Fuller of Jerome, is seeking a new trial for Charboneau on the grounds that Bennett relied on clairvoyance and that some of Bennett's actions adversley effected the case.
Charboneau, 27, a former rodeo performer, was condemned to death for his first-degree murder conviction in the slaying of his 36-year-old ex-wife, Marilyn Arbaugh, who was gunned down at her rural Jerome County home in July 1984.
Becker said he would issue a written opinion on the clairovoyance issue after final arguments are submitted by March 23 from Fuller and special prosecutor Deputy Attorney General Peter Erbland.
Over the opposition of Erbland, a letter dated Aug. 23, 1984, was entered into evidence Friday. The letter from Bennett's niece, Linda Black, described a seance held in California at which Black claimed she saw one of Arbaugh's daugthers, Tiffany, shoot her mother.
Former Jerome County Prosecutor Dan Adamson also testified that he talked to Bennett four or five times about clairvoyance. "I told him I wasn't going to change the state's investigation based on a seance," Adamson testified.
Bennett's former employee, Diane McDonald, said she witnessed several conversations about the supernatural while in Bennett's office. Bennett's former investigator, Jim Coakley, claimed to have contacted Arbuagh's spirit, she said.
However, Bennett said the conversations about clairvoyance never took place.
He said there was the theory of a second gun used by Arbaugh's daughter in the slaying. He said Charboneau had told him he witnessed the girl fire the fatal shot. "I believed him then and I believe him know," Bennett said.
Bennett said he had relayed the theory of the second gun to his niece.
Twin Falls Times-News reporter Bonnie Baird Jones testified that Bennett had given her permission to use the letter, though she said she declined. Bennett said he never authorized release of the letter.
Copyright 1987 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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