Tacoma quadruple murder trial: Dirty clothes cause hour-and-a-half delay

Dirty clothes delayed the Tacoma quadruple murder trial for more than an hour and a half on Monday, which led to a witness leaving, and the prosecution considering putting out an arrest warrant for them.

It is now the second week into the murder trial against Maleke Pate. Pate is accused of killing 42-year-old Maria Nunez-Iese, her son, 19-year-old Emery Iese, Maria’s brother 22-year-old Raymond Williams, and Raymond’s girlfriend, 22-year-old Natasha Brincefield.

The incident happened in Oct. 2021.

The first week of the trial was marked with drama in the courtroom, when family and friends screamed profanities at the defendant.

The second week started off with Pate showing up to court in an orange jail jumpsuit. The defense said his clothes did not get washed over the weekend.

The trial was supposed to start at 9 a.m., but the delay due to his inappropriate outfit for the courtroom pushed the hearing back to roughly 10:40 a.m. 

During that time, one of the prosecution’s key witnesses left without permission.

"We have witnesses who have been very difficult to bring here. For example, Ms. Latanya Jones was scheduled for last week. She did not appear," said deputy prosecuting attorney for Pierce County, Sunni Ko.

After Jones did not show up for court last week, and left the hearing on Monday, Ko said they might have to consider filing a warrant against her.

On top of the delays from the clothing confusion, one of the defense attorneys requested a two-day recess to deal with a family emergency.

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Ko told the judge that one of the main jury members is unavailable on March 26, and she is concerned that more delays will detrimentally impact the hearing.

Pierce County Superior Court Judge Susan Adams denied the request to delay the trial for two days. The hearing resumed as scheduled following the morning confusion with a neighbor, and several Tacoma Police investigators taking the stand.