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Hatfield murder trial to proceed in Muscatine June 21
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Hatfield murder trial to proceed in Muscatine June 21

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MUSCATINE – The trial for a Muscatine man accused of killing his girlfriend at Saulsbury Recreation Area will proceed, according to court records from a hearing last week.

According to court documents, the trial of David J.S. Hatfield is to be from June 21 to July 2 as scheduled. A final pretrial conference was held Friday, June 4, 2021, in the Muscatine County Courthouse via remote video. At the end of the conference, Judge Tom Reidel filed a statement that the matter is confirmed for jury trial and the clerk of court was to notify all self-represented litigants and attorneys of record.

The trial was originally continued from December 2020 after Hatfield’s attorney Derek Jones said the defense needed additional time for an expert witness to review the case. The document also said Jones and lead prosecutor Monty Platz have conflicting trials during the eight days the trial had been expected to take place.

According to the police report, on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019, Hatfield called 911 to report that his girlfriend Kaitlyn Sky Palmer, 18, had shot herself in the head at the Saulsbury Recreation Area in rural Muscatine County. She was taken to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City, where she died on Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019.

During the investigation, Hatfield reportedly admitted to shooting Palmer and later said he had fired a practice shot. Hatfield is charged with first-degree murder and has entered a written plea of not guilty. He remains in the Muscatine County Jail on a $1 million cash-only bond. Murder in the first degree is a Class A felony punishable by life in prison.

The incident was investigated by the Muscatine County Sheriff’s Office, the Muscatine Police Department and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.

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