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Another new attorney delays Skim X murder case

By: Penne Usher, Press Tribune Correspondent
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The woman accused of being an accessory to murder after the fact appeared in a Placer County courtroom and was appointed a new attorney. Averill Easley, 34, is the co-defendant in a case of murder in which her ex-husband Christopher J. Northam, 25, is accused of fatally shooting his father Christopher D. Northam last year. Easley had hired attorney Tasha Paris Chalfant, however, during Wednesday’s court appearance Chalfant filed a motion to withdraw from the case over what appears to be a matter of finances. When asked if she had the money or means to pay for an attorney, Easley replied, “No, I don’t.” The Barry Zimmerman Law Firm has now been appointed to the case. The Zimmerman group is conflict attorney for Placer County. Under normal circumstances the public defender would have been appointed to represent Easley, however, that office had previously represented Northam until he retained attorney Mary Beth Acton. The appointment of a new attorney will further delay the case. Northam, 25, has been charged with one count of murder and a special allegation of murder for financial gain for the May 30, 2011, killing of his father. He and Easley have both pleaded not guilty to the charges against them. Acton had previously requested that the court ensure that evidence in the case, specifically law enforcement notes, be retained until reviewed by the defense and not released to third parties. Prosecutor Dave Tellman had objected to the motion at a previous hearing, but has since reconsidered. “We won’t release any evidence without councils consent,” he said Wednesday. The agreement pertains specifically to witness interviews. Northam was arrested Feb. 22 and has been held without bail in the Placer County Jail accused of murdering his father at the elder Northam’s Roseville business — Skim X — on Memorial Day 2011. It is alleged that the younger Northam used a .223-caliber rifle to kill his father for financial gain. Northam and Easley are scheduled to return to court Oct. 11 in Dept. 13 of Placer County Superior Court for an early status conference.