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Friday, March 22 , 2019, 6:50 pm | Fair 59º


Trial Date Set For 2 Women Accused Of Killing Solvang ALS Patient

A fall trial date has been set for two women — including the victim's mother — charged with murdering a Solvang ALS patient two years ago. 

Marjorie Good and Wanda Nelson appeared in Santa Barbara County Superior Court on Monday.

Good, 89, is free on her own recognizance, and Nelson remained in custody.

Visiting Judge John S. Fisher entered not-guilty pleas for the women, who were indicted by a Santa Barbara County Grand Jury for allegedly killing Good’s daughter, Heidi Good Swiacki, in March 2013.

Marjorie Good

Arraignment hearings for the women have been continued a couple of times.

Trial is scheduled for Oct. 27, but no later than the end of November.

Court staff was wrestling with a different trial also scheduled in the same courtroom at the end of October.

Good Swiacki had ALS — amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease — a progressive neurodegenerative disease that left her almost entirely paralyzed.

She relied on a ventilator to breathe and around-the-clock caregivers.

Authorities allege that Good and Nelson, who was Good Swiacki's primary caregiver, conspired to heavily sedate her and disconnect her ventilator, leading to a quick death. 

The women were ordered to return to court in September for pre-trial motions.

Nelson’s defense attorney, Lori Pedego, also said Monday that her client is concerned she is not receiving follow-up care her doctor said the breast cancer survivor should have. This is the second time the attorney mentioned the concern.

Additionally, Nelson does not feel safe in Santa Barbara County Jail, her attorney said. 

Pedego told the judge she may seek Nelson’s release on her own recognizance if the jail staff cannot meet the woman’s medical needs.

Monday’s hearing was postponed for several minutes when Nelson became emotional after entering the courtroom and sitting next to her attorney.

The additional time also allowed Good to weigh whether to use the court’s hearing assistance equipment or to just rely on her regular hearing aids. 

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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