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Both Sides in Furrow Case Seek Trial Delay

November 10, 2000

LOS ANGELES — Both sides in the murder case against white supremacist Buford O. Furrow Jr. asked a federal judge Thursday to postpone his trial from February until April, citing, among other reasons, the need to prepare for "potential mental health issues that might arise."

Furrow's lawyers have yet to say publicly whether they will claim that he was mentally impaired and, therefore, not legally responsible at the time of the crime.

The ex-Aryan Nations guard from Washington state is accused of killing a Filipino American letter carrier after wounding five people last year in a shooting rampage at a Jewish community center in Granada Hills.

It was not clear from Thursday's request for a trial delay whether defense and prosecution lawyers were referring to mental health issues that might arise in the guilt phase of Furrow's trial or during a penalty phase, if he is convicted.

Psychiatric testimony is certain to be introduced if Furrow is found guilty. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. A bigger question is whether the defense will raise the mental impairment issue during the guilt portion of the trial.

Furrow's defense previously was ordered to notify the prosecution if it planned to introduce evidence about Furrow's mental condition during either part of the trial. The deadline for complying passed last month without any mention on the public court docket, but the defense may have filed its notice under seal.

In their request to U.S. District Judge Nora Manella to move the trial to April 24, both sides said the case is extraordinarily complex and raises novel legal issues.

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