Local News

Thursday, Aug 01 2013 09:49 AM

Burglary sentencing postponed as defendant prepares for new murder trial

BY JASON KOTOWSKI Californian staff writer jkotowski@bakersfield.com

Sentencing for convicted burglar David Eugene Webster II was postponed to Feb. 7 after his attorney successfully argued Thursday that sending Webster to prison would place an undue burden on the defense as it prepares for Webster's retrial for murder.

Deputy Public Defender Paul Cadman said Webster's right to counsel would be "severely prejudiced" if he were imprisoned outside of Kern County. By postponing sentencing, Cadman will have better access to his client in preparing for the new trial. A jury hung in June on the murder charge and a charge that Webster burglarized the Licastro home.

Prosecutor David Zulfa told Kern County Superior Court Judge Charles R. Brehmer that he didn't believe Cadman had shown good cause to continue the sentencing, but Brehmer disagreed and set sentencing for the burglaries for Feb. 7.

Brehmer denied Cadman's motion for a new trial on the burglary convictions.

Webster, 33, was convicted of two burglaries in an east Bakersfield neighborhood where the body of Margy Lou Licastro was found early Jan. 16. Licastro, 84, suffered multiple stab wounds and was found in a bedroom in her house in the 1900 block of Baker Street.

Licastro's husband, Joseph Licastro, called police shortly after 5 a.m. to report an intruder in the home, police have said. Police discovered Margy Licastro's body and, a short time later, detained Webster as he was reportedly committing another burglary.

Webster was in possession of a blue cotton right-hand glove that was an apparent match to a left-hand glove found in the Licastro backyard, police said. He also had a pipe used for smoking methamphetamine and identified himself as a member of a criminal street gang, police said.

Police reports filed in court say a second man found in the neighborhood shortly after the killing gave evasive, suspicious answers to police and had what appeared to be blood on a finger and a fresh abrasion on his hand.

But police have been unable to connect that man to the Licastro murder.

Cadman said Webster has admitted to one of the burglaries he was convicted of, but has claimed he was never in the Licastro home.

Zulfa said after the hearing that he could not comment on details of the case.

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