Sun, Jan. 26

New judge for defendants in Walmart parking lot brawl

CAMP VERDE -- Yavapai County Superior Court Presiding Judge David Mackey has moved all the adult cases of the Gaver family involved in the March 21 Walmart brawl out of Judge Michael Bluff's courtroom and into the courtroom of Judge Joseph Butner.

Jeremiah and David Gaver had originally requested a change of judge as a matter of right. But when father Peter Gaver also asked for a change of judge, Bluff agreed to hear his not-guilty plea, but referred the matter to the presiding judge.

Monday, Mackey filed his order related to that request.

Mackey notes in the order that "all five defendants were charged in one indictment, but were given separate case numbers. Without prejudice to any party filing motions for separate trials or for findings that parties 'have adverse or hostile interests', the Court finds that since they are all charged in one indictment, they are considered co-defendants in one case with two sides for the purpose of Rule 10.2."

The presiding judge vacated all further hearings before Judge Bluff.

Mackey also ordered that should Nathaniel or Ruth Gaver, who had not previously sought another judge, file a Rule 10.2 motion seeking a different judge, then they must "first seek leave" from the presiding judge.

The next appearance for the family members is scheduled May 11 before Butner.

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