Triple-murder suspect Pierre Haobsh pleaded not guilty in Santa Barbara County Superior Court Tuesday and told the court he is no longer requesting to represent himself in the case.
Haobsh, 27, is accused of murdering Santa Barbara Herb Clinic Dr. Weidong “Henry” Han, 57; his wife, Huijie “Jennie” Yu, 29; and their 5-year-old daughter, Emily, on March 23, 2016.
After a preliminary hearing in early June, Haobsh was ordered to stand trial for the charges: three counts of first-degree murder and special allegations that the offenses were willful, premeditated and deliberate; committed by means of lying in wait; and committed for financial gain.
At a hearing last week, Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley said her office intends to pursue the death penalty in the case against Haobsh.
He is currently represented by Deputy Public Defenders Christine Voss and Mindi Boulet, and his attorneys mentioned at the previous hearing that Haobsh apparently had a desire to represent himself in the case, and had a letter for Judge Brian Hill.
On Tuesday, Voss said Haobsh is “not requesting to represent himself today.”
Hill said Haobsh has a constitutional right to represent himself in the case, but doesn’t think it’s wise.
Voss and Boulet are “two excellent attorneys,” he added.
Haobsh, when asked in court whether he would continue being represented by Voss and Boulet, answered, “That’s correct.”
Voss had also asked for an injunction barring anyone involved in the case from speaking to the news media while legal proceedings are ongoing, and Hill signed an amended gag order in court Tuesday.
Voss has said that without such an order, “my client’s fair-trial rights might be compromised.”
The order applies to attorneys and investigators involved in the case, and also places limits on staff in the Public Defender’s Office and District Attorney’s Office, Sheriff’s Department, Santa Barbara Police Department, judicial and Superior Court staff including clerks, and expert witnesses.
The order applies to statements made with the intent of public dissemination, attorneys said.
The proposed order included “public officials” in the injunction, but Hill took that sentence out, saying it was “extremely broad” and hard to enforce.
Hill noted that judicial employees are already legally obligated not to talk about court cases.
The injunction will be served to the impacted agencies and individuals, attorneys said.
Haobsh will be back in court Dec. 12 and he waived time for trial through April of next year.
Attorneys are not sure when they’ll be ready for trial, but a tentative date will be scheduled at the December hearing.
Hilary Dozer and Benjamin Ladinig are prosecuting the case for the District Attorney’s Office