FLORENCE — The trial of an Apache Junction man in a 2016 double homicide case was put on hold Thursday after one of the attorneys in the case reported a health concern.
In a meeting with Judge Robert Carter Olson before testimony started for the day in the trial against Demian Blu, 44, started, one of the prosecutors in the case alerted the court that they may have caught a cold or other mild illness. The prosecutor stated that they were vaccinated against COVID-19 and did not think they had the virus but had not had a chance to get tested.
Olson recommended, but did not order, the attorney to take a rapid COVID test that was being offered to county employees.
The court recessed for a couple of hours while the attorney was tested. The test came back negative for COVID-19.
Once the test results were received, Olson recommended putting the trial on hold until after Labor Day, citing health protocols that had been put in place during the pandemic that bar anyone with COVID symptoms or a high temperature from entering the courthouse.
When jurors were brought back into the courtroom, Olson informed them that a health concern had been reported, that the person did not have COVID and that the trial would resume after Labor Day. He also warned jurors that because of the two-day delay in the trial that they may not be able to start deliberations until late next week.
Olson said he realized the delay may cause a hardship for some jurors and said that he and the attorneys in the case would meet with any juror in his chambers to discuss any problems they might have with staying on the jury.
It is unknown how many jurors will stay on the jury. The case does have six alternate jurors who can fill the seats of those who may be excused from the case.
Testimony in the case will resume on Tuesday with Blu’s co-defendant Clint Wendelschafer.