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Accused Killer Is Denied Phone Use

May 24, 1997|TRACY WILSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

VENTURA — Concerned that an accused murderer would use the long weekend to seek retribution against witnesses, a Ventura County judge on Friday temporarily prohibited the man from writing letters or making phone calls from the County Jail.

Prosecutors charge that Spencer Rawlin Brasure of Hawthorne has been sending letters to friends asking them to kill witnesses expected to testify against him in a capital murder case.

At the prosecutors' urging, Municipal Judge Roland M. Purnell issued a temporary order stripping Brasure of his telephone and mail privileges, although he is allowed to talk privately with his attorneys.

Brasure can have no unsupervised visits over the Memorial Day weekend either, the judge ruled.

Defense attorneys fought the order in part, arguing that such restrictions would infringe on their client's constitutional rights.

"The court should not without more information authorize a blanket invasion of privacy," Deputy Public Defender Robery Willey argued, fighting a specific request that all of Brasure's phone calls be monitored by authorities.

But prosecutors argued that constitutional issues, at least temporarily, should take a back seat to concerns about witnesses' safety.

"Every person who is a witness in the case should be assured over the three-day weekend that they are not in danger of being killed," Deputy Dist. Atty. Mark Pachowicz said.

Brasure, 27, is accused of slaying a Redondo Beach man last year in northern Ventura County.

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