Trial in drive-by slaying of girl, 15, postponed

EVERETT — The trial of a Marysville man accused of gunning down 15-year-old Molly Conley a year ago is now scheduled to begin in November. It had been scheduled to begin this month.

Lawyers told Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Thomas Wynne on Friday that they need more time to prepare. There is a large volume of reports and other evidence to review. They also are trying to coordinate schedules for the dozens of witnesses.

“We’ve been working diligently to get to trial,” Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Ed Stemler said.

Molly’s family was disappointed by the delay. They trust the prosecutor’s judgment, but the trial continuances take an emotional toll on them, Molly’s father said.

Wynne, a veteran judge, has been assigned to preside over the case. Jury selection will begin Nov. 24. Lawyers said picking a jury may take some time given the amount of publicity the case has attracted.

Molly, a freshman at Bishop Blanchet High School in Seattle, was celebrating her birthday with friends in Lake Stevens. She and her friends were walking back from a nearby park when she was struck by a bullet, apparently fired from a passing car.

Erick Walker, 27, is charged with first-degree murder for the June 1, 2013, shooting. He also is charged with four counts of drive-by shooting for gunfire that hit homes in Marysville and Lake Stevens early the next day.

Walker has pleaded not guilty to the charges. He reportedly told police that he was in the area around the time that Molly was killed. He said he got lost looking for a restaurant.

Police say they’ve recovered five bullets that match guns seized from Walker’s home. Detectives have been unable to locate the bullet that killed Molly. Prosecutors believe they can build a circumstantial case that the gunfire that ended the girl’s life was part of the same shooting spree.

Walker is expected back in court in August. Prosecutors are planning to file first-degree assault charges for the gunfire that struck occupied homes.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463, hefley@heraldnet.com.

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