Hearing delayed in infant’s death

MINDEN — With the possibility he may still face the death penalty, a preliminary hearing for Trent Lawrence Getty was continued on Friday.

Getty faces a murder charge in connection with the death of his 10-week-old infant daughter, Ava.

On Friday, defense attorney Maria Pence requested a continuance after learning the prosecution intended to call the medical examiner.

Prosecutor Eric Levin said Washoe Medical Examiner Dr. Ellen Clark completed her report on Ava’s death on Thursday and he didn’t have a copy of it either.

“Mr. Getty has the right to cross examine witnesses,” Pence said. “There is no way we could be prepared to discuss this testimony.”

Justice of the Peace Tom Perkins vacated the hearing, agreeing with Pence additional time was needed for the defense to review the report.

Levin said the decision has not been made whether to pursue the death penalty against Getty. The state has 30 days after filing an affidavit on open murder to confirm it’s seeking the death penalty, and list the aggravating factors.

Pence also challenged the presence of news television cameras in the courtroom, saying the media coverage could affect Getty’s ability to get a fair trial.

Levin argued the Nevada Supreme Court rules presume the courtroom will be open to the public and to electronic media.

The preliminary hearing determines if a crime has been committed and if prosecutors have sufficient evidence to hold Getty for trial.

Getty has been in custody since Jan. 10, when he was arrested in a Sacramento bus station after a warrant was issued in connection with the death of 2-month-old Ava.

Pence and Jamie Henry have been appointed to represent Getty.

Getty brought an unresponsive Ava to Carson Valley Medical Center early on Jan. 7.

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