Witness Unavailable, Slaying Trial Delayed

Times Staff Writer

The murder trial of a 20-year-old man accused of beating to death a 98-year-old Glendale woman has been postponed until April 24 because a key defense witness, a fingerprints expert, is involved in the "Night Stalker" case.

Joseph John Reyes Jr. of Glendale is charged with murdering Edna McFarland on Aug. 14, 1984. Police say the key evidence includes a palm print belonging to Reyes that was found in McFarland's home.

Reyes' lawyer, however, said he expects to have fingerprint expert Lee Smith testify that the palm print was not necessarily Reyes'. However, Smith is now on call as an expert witness in defense of Richard Ramirez, 25, who is standing trial on 14 murder counts and 54 other felony charges.

Prosecutors contend that Reyes went to McFarland's home at 216 S. Pacific Ave. to steal government-issued cheese and butter, which were found at the time of his arrest. McFarland who was at home at the time of the burglary, was severely beaten and died two days later in Glendale Memorial Hospital.

Reyes is being held without bail in Los Angeles County Jail. Before his arrest, he worked part time for a moving company.

The trial was postponed Monday by Pasadena Superior Court Judge Jack B. Tso.

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