Trial is delayed in Port Angeles teen's heroin-related death

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — A 19-year-old Port Angeles man accused in the heroin-related death of a teenager has been released from the Clallam County jail after his trial was postponed for a fourth time since July.

David A.C. Zavodny was released on his own recognizance Friday after a new jury trial date was set for Dec. 16 during a status hearing in Clallam County Superior Court.

Zavodny will not be allowed to travel outside Clallam County and must submit to random drug screenings through Friendship Diversion Services in Port Angeles, among other requirements.

Zavodny is charged with one count each of controlled-substance homicide and maintaining premises for drug trafficking.

Police said he allegedly provided Maceo Niehaus, 17, with heroin that contributed to his May 15 death.

Postponements

Zavodny's trial initially was postponed from July 22 to Aug. 2 so that Karen Unger, Zavodny's defense attorney, could have more time to prepare.

The trial was delayed again, from Aug. 2 to Sept. 30, according to Superior Court documents, and later from Sept. 30 to Oct. 21, because of the unavailability of Ann Lundwall, the deputy county prosecuting attorney who was handling the case.

On Friday, county Deputy Prosecuting Attorney John Troberg said he has taken over the case from Lundwall, who has been called to active duty as a U.S. Navy reservist in Washington, D.C.

Troberg said he will not be able to review the case file before Oct. 21 and said medical examiner Dr. Eric Selove, who performed the autopsy on Niehaus, will be out of the country and unavailable to testify until December.

“The state is agreeable to a [personal recognizance] release, with the idea trial would be scheduled some time after Dr. Selove's return,” Troberg said Friday.

Troberg said later he agreed to Zavodny's release with conditions to avoid a potential infringement on his right to a speedy trial.

“I don't want to risk a motion to dismiss [from the defense] for a speedy-trial-rights violation,” Troberg said.

Next appearance Nov. 21

Zavodny's next court appearance is Nov. 21 for a status hearing.

According to police accounts, Niehaus injected himself with heroin at Zavodny's residence on South Ennis Street in Port Angeles and stopped breathing.

Zavodny reportedly applied ice and cold water to Niehaus in an attempt to revive him, calling 9-1-1 between 40 and 45 minutes after Niehaus stopped breathing.

Paramedics and police could not revive Niehaus.

More than 300 people attended Niehaus' May 23 funeral.

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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: October 05. 2013 5:26PM
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