Mark Duenas says he is not guilty of murdering his wife. The Cottonwood man appeared in front of a judge for the first time Tuesday, as he was formally charged with one open count of murder.
Tuesday's arraignment was the first of what may be many court appearances for Duenas. The actual proceedings were short but, Mark's lawyer took the opportunity to speak out about the case.
Mark Duenas did not appear to show any emotion as he was lead into a courtroom Tuesday afternoon. The 52-year-old Cottonwood man kept his eyes down, concentrating on a court document as he pled not guilty to one count of murder.
Attorney Ron Powell stood by duenas as he rocked back and forth, never looking toward the 15 or so family members in the back of the courtroom.
But Powell says the family is supporting mark, "100 percent, I met with all the boys, the wives of a couple of the boys and yeah, its 100 percent," said Powell.
The main concern of the family right now, Powell says, is finding Karen's real killer.
"They believe in their dad's innocence, so naturally that leaves them and me with a concern that if not mark, what steps have been done to find out who it is," said Powell.
Powell says from the beginning, law enforcement and the media only focused on Mark. He is worried that could taint the jury pool.
"He is entitled to 12 people who are fair an impartial to judge his case eventually, and it seems like it is going to be hard to find those people," said Powell.
Although he has not been considered a flight risk for the fast 5 months, Mark Duenas is held on one million dollars bail , which is the standard for a murder charge in Shasta County, and it does not look like he'll be leaving this cell anytime soon.
What I am hoping to do is have that revisited at the time of the prelim.
Ron Powell says Duenas has already passed an independent polygraph test, but that evidence is not admissible in court. Duenas will next be in court on October 17th.