Pretrial for Murder of Dearborn Man Postponed for Second Time
Family members of Hassan Jaber called the postponement of the trial of his alleged killers "a waste of time."
A preliminary examination for four people charged with murdering a Dearborn resident was postponed a second time Friday in the 19th District Court.
Charles Jackson, Zelda Taylor, Iashia Knox, and Kristen Holmes will return to court on Aug. 28 on charges that they robbed and killed Hassan Jaber in his Dearborn home. Their trial was held on Friday when Samuel Konikow, Knox's lawyer, requested an adjournment because he had not received the discovery packet in its entirety from the prosecution.
The four Detroit residents are facing charges of felony murder, armed robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery stemming from the July 15 death of Jaber.
About 40 people gathered in the courtroom Friday to see the pre-trial, which would involve five to six witnesses and four lawyers for each defendent, but the hearing was quickly over.
To begin the proceedings, Somers asked each defense lawyer if they had full knowledge and handle of any material or evidence to be used in the trial that day. He went one by one, asking the attorneys if they would like to proceed.
Konikow, the last lawyer to be asked, did request adjournment on the basis that he had not received all of the discovery packet pertinent information from Erika Tusar, the prosecuting attorney.
Tusar and Konikow then spent several minutes debating who was responsible for this gap in knowledge. Rather than sit and listen to further details of attempts made to obtain or transfer information, Judge Somers waved them both off while they were speaking.
“In fairness to Iashia Knox, it doesn't really matter how we got to this point; we're here,” Somers said. “I'm not going to subject her rights to court procedure such as a preliminary examination with counsel (that doesn't have the necessary information).”
The court then spent a few additional minutes simply trying to set the next date of the trial, which proved difficult as the four defense attorneys and Somers tried to find a time and date that was mutually agreeable.
While four lawyers on one side of court case is unusual, Nicole Castka, the attorney for Zelda Taylor, said it has been “pretty manageable.”
“You have to learn to cooperate and be patient," she said. "The more lawyers you have the more crazy it gets."
Ali Jaber, Hassan's brother, attended the hearing with several other members of the Jaber family and was terse in his evaluation of the day.
“I think it's a waste of time,” he said. “Those are murderers and they need to be prosecuted right away … they need to be off the streets.”
Member's of Jaber's family wore black, and four wore shirts that had Hassan's face and the letters “R.I.P.” on them. Those wearing the shirts, however, were asked by Somers to remove them before the hearing began. Ali Jaber speculated that it was “probably to avoid tension.”