Thursday, February 5, 1998 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Recaptured Bail Jumper Faces Slow Trial In Slaying Of Husband

Seattle Times Snohomish County Bureau

EVERETT - Teresa Gaethe-Leonard's trial on a charge of murdering her estranged husband has been set for March 13, more than a year after Chuck Leonard was shot in his waterbed. But no one expects that the trial, in a case fraught with delays and difficulties, will start on that date.

Prosecutors have yet to obtain psychological reports on Gaethe-Leonard. And Gaethe-Leonard, who jumped $500,000 cash bail and fled to Puerto Rico, doesn't know who will be her lawyer.

George Cody, who was her defense attorney at the time of her arrest in March until John Henry Browne stepped in, represented her yesterday in Snohomish County Superior Court. But Cody has been named by prosecutors as a witness.

Neither Cody nor Deputy Prosecutor Michael Downes would say what prosecutors want Cody to testify about.

Usually, a lawyer can't be a witness and counsel in the same case. If a court decides the testimony is crucial, then another attorney must represent the defendant. A hearing on that matter was set for Feb. 19.

Gaethe-Leonard's flight cost her boyfriend, John Skenderian, a Maui real-estate-agency owner, $75,000, although he may get some of that back. Judge Linda Krese decided at a hearing this week to seize that amount - returning $425,000 of the bail to Skenderian - to cover county costs as well as those of Puerto Rican authorities who kept her in custody three weeks. So far, Snohomish County has documented spending $17,000.

Gaethe-Leonard, 34, who ran a Marysville consignment shop, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree murder in the Feb. 20, 1997, death of Leonard, a 53-year-old middle-school counselor.

Prosecutors say she shot her husband, from whom she'd lived apart for several years, because he posed an obstacle to her moving with the couple's daughter to Hawaii. The girl, now 6, is living with a paternal aunt in Oregon.

Nancy Montgomery's phone message number is 425-745-7803.

Copyright (c) 1998 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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