A San Francisco couple accused in the beating death of their housemate in December had all charges dismissed against them Wednesday after defense attorneys argued their rights to a speedy trial were violated — and then were rearrested.
Richard Carelli and Michelle Pinkerton, both 38, have remained in custody since their April 7 arrest in Mexico after allegedly fleeing San Francisco in late January as police investigated the Dec. 22 killing of Leonard Milo Hoskins, 49.
Hoskins’ body was later found in a sleeping bag wrapped with duct tape in Carelli’s van — which had been impounded by police during the investigation — but not before Carelli and Pinkerton had already left San Francisco.
After their arrest, prosecutors charged Carelli with murder and Pinkerton as an accessory to murder.
Both pleaded not guilty to the crimes.
Carelli and Pinkerton were immediately re-arrested following the dismissal of the charges, according to District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Erica Derryck. The two were expected to be rearraigned on a new felony complaint with the same original charges within the next 48 hours, said Derryck, who called Wednesday’s motion an “illusory dismissal.”
Wednesday, as a preliminary hearing in the case was set to begin, Judge James Luther agreed with a motion by defense attorneys for Carelli and Pinkerton that their rights to a preliminary hearing within 60 days had been violated, and dismissed the felony complaint against them.
Attorneys for Carelli and Pinkerton told Luther on Wednesday that their clients had reasserted their rights to a preliminary hearing within 60 days during a June 2 hearing before one judge.
Then on July 28, another judge, Paul Alvarado, agreed to postpone the preliminary hearing beyond the Aug. 1 time limit because the prior prosecutor on the case was trying another murder case at the time.
The Carelli-Pinkerton case was subsequently transferred to Assistant District Attorney David Merin, who told Luther that he was prepared to begin the preliminary hearing.
According to the District Attorney’s Office, Luther granted the motion under a technicality in the law, saying that whether or not there was “good cause” for Alvarado to postpone the preliminary hearing, the 60-day rule still applied.