No Delay for Senior Slaying Suspect

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) _ Despite a defense request for a delay, a McPherson man accused of killing an 85-year-old woman will face a preliminary hearing Monday as scheduled.

Marvin Gifford Jr. faces the death penalty in the May 18 slaying of Pearl Arthaud at her independent living apartment in the Sunshine Meadows Retirement Community in Buhler. Gifford is also charged with sexually assaulting several elderly women in Reno County.

Lawyers from the Kansas Death Penalty Defense Unit asked for a postponement, telling a judge Wednesday that they need more time to examine evidence received from prosecutors just two weeks ago.

Prosecutors have asked that the case proceed quickly because the alleged victims are elderly. They said the defense wants a delay in the hopes that the health of the aging victims deteriorates and they can't testify.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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