A tentative Sept. 8 trial date was set Wednesday for a transient accused in the January 1998 stabbing death of 12-year-old Stephanie Crowe in her Escondido home.
Superior Court Judge Frederic Link selected the date after conferring privately with attorneys for Richard Tuite and prosecutors from the Attorney General's Office.
The judge made it clear, however, that Tuite's criminal trial will be moved up should a federal civil trial set for Aug. 5 start on time.
"This case is going to go before any civil case," Link said. "There will be no civil case before this case."
Tuite's attorneys, Brad Patton and William Fletcher, presented evidence at a 13-day preliminary hearing that they say points to Joshua Treadway, Aaron Houser and the victim's older brother, Michael, as her killers.
The three originally were charged with Stephanie's murder. But charges were dropped in 1999 when a DNA test revealed the victim's blood on a filthy red shirt Tuite wore the night of the killing.
The case was turned over to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department and the state Attorney General's Office three years ago.
Prosecutors put on evidence that they say shows two police interrogations of Treadway, now 20, were coerced and, therefore, unreliable.
Special Assistant Attorney General David Druliner said Escondido police investigators made "multiple assumptions" early on in the case, making it "theory-driven" as opposed to "evidence-driven."
Druliner said Tuite, a diagnosed schizophrenic, was seen in the area of the Crowe home on Jan. 20, 1998, the night before Stephanie's body was discovered. Tuite, who is being held without bail, knocked on doors asking for "Tracy," the prosecutor said.
The Crowe, Treadway and Houser families sued the Escondido Police Department, county prosecutors and others for alleged civil rights violations.
Tuite is charged with murder and the use of a knife. He faces 27 years to life in prison if convicted.
Another hearing in the criminal case is set for April 23.
- March 17, 2003: Tuite Pleads Not Guilty To Crowe Murder
- March 4, 2003: Tuite To Stand Trial For Crowe Murder
- February 27, 2003: Teen In Tuite Hearing Can't Explain Knife
- February 26, 2003: Teen Takes Stand In Tuite Hearing
- February 25, 2003: Prosecutors Play 'Confession' Tape In Tuite Hearing
- February 20, 2003: Tape: Teen Admits Part In Stephanie Crowe Murder
- February 19, 2003: Will Tuite Stand Trial For Stephanie Crowe's Murder?
- February 14, 2003: Court: Tuite Can Present Evidence Against Crowe's Brother
- February 11, 2003: Tuite Preliminary Hearing On Hold
- February 10, 2003: Tuite Preliminary Hearing Continues
- February 6, 2003: 2nd Day Of Tuite Hearing Under Way
- February 5, 2003: Day 1 Of Tuite Preliminary Hearing Held
- September 19, 2002: Tuite's Preliminary Hearing Set
- August 26, 2002: Tuite Hearing May Come This Fall
- May 22, 2002: Crowe Family Wants Civil Case Sped Up
- May 16, 2002: Tuite Pleads Not Guilty To Crowe Murder
- May 16, 2002: Tuite To Be Arraigned Today
- May 15, 2002: Tuite To Be Charged With Stephanie Crowe's Murder
- May 14, 2002: Arrest Looms In 1998 Child Killing
- December 3, 2001: Gag Order Lifted In Stephanie Crowe Case
- November 15, 2001: Crowe Murder Suspect Back In Prison
- July 11, 2001: Crowe Murder Suspect Released From Prison
- June 29, 2001: Breakthrough Expected In Crowe Murder Case
- May 30, 2001: Man Linked To Crowe Murder Back In Prison
- May 25, 2001: Man Investigated In Crowe Murder To Be Paroled
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