MENOMONIE — The jury trial of 21-year-old Ezra J. McCandless of Stanley, who is accused of fatally stabbing Alexander Woodworth of Eau Claire, has been moved from April to October.
McCandless’ attorney said Friday the defense team has received an overflow of new evidence.
A three-week trial was slated to begin April 2.
The trial is now scheduled to begin Oct. 14, Judge James Peterson said at a Friday motion hearing in Dunn County Court.
McCandless is pleading not guilty to a charge of first-degree intentional homicide–use of a dangerous weapon.
McCandless’ attorneys, Aaron Nelson of Hudson and Deja Vishny of Milwaukee, say they’ve recently received over 1,200 pages of possible evidence, along with thousands of pages of digital material from Woodworth’s computer tablet and over 600 pages of letters McCandless has written during her incarceration at the Dunn County Jail.
“It’s not fair to Ms. McCandless to have counsel who’s not fully prepared. We can’t get there by April 2,” Nelson said Friday.
Woodworth’s family “would prefer the case to continue” so they can have closure, Dunn County District Attorney Andrea Nodolf said.
Peterson set the trial for October and scheduled several motion hearings for April, June and September.
The judge said he believes the new trial date was a legitimate request, not a delay tactic — and that he doesn’t want to risk errors during the trial.
“Cases don’t get any more serious, frankly. We have to make sure we do it correctly,” he said.
Authorities found Woodworth stabbed to death in a vehicle in the town of Spring Brook on March 23, 2018, according to a criminal complaint.
McCandless, who was found in Dunn County, told authorities Woodworth attacked her and carved the word “boy” into her arm, and she stabbed him multiple times, according to the complaint.
McCandless later said she cut the word into her arm after she stabbed Woodworth.
In court filings, prosecutors contend McCandless intentionally lured Woodworth to Dunn County, then stabbed him.
The defense argues Woodworth was the first aggressor, and took “violent and aggressive” action against McCandless, and she acted in self-defense when she stabbed him multiple times.
Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General Richard DuFour, who is prosecuting the case with Nodolf, said he expects the state to take five days to argue their case to a jury.
The defense expects to take three to four days, Nelson said.
Motion hearings in the case have been scheduled for April 4 and 5.