Wenatchee, Wa.- A Judge has ordered the trial for accused murderer Bernard Swaim to go forward after ruling against a defense request for a mistrial. The trial began Monday for the 61 year old Sultan man who is charged with first degree murder in the 1982 death of Stephen Smith of Cashmere. Court proceedings were cancelled Thursday due to a legal issue involving a DO NOT DISTURB sign that had been posted by an employee of the prosecutor’s office to the courtroom door. The sign was intended to reduce noise from filtering into the courtroom from the outside waiting area. Judge Lesley Allen ordered the sign removed because of concerns that trial spectators may have seen the sign and thought they were being barred entry into the courtroom. Judge Allan ruled this morning that the sign did not violate Swaim’s Constitutional right to a public trial.
The trial continued Friday afternoon with testimony from witnesses for the prosecution. Swaim’s ex-wife and co-defendant, Dawn Soles was scheduled to testify today. Soles was also previously married to Smith and is accused of conspiring with Swaim to kill Smith over a child custody dispute. Smith’s body was never found. The case was reopened 35 years later after new evidence surfaced implicating Swaim and Soles. Both have pleaded not guilty.