BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A Kern County judge on Tuesday issued a gag order in the case of a couple accused of killing two of their adopted children.
The order bars attorneys and their investigators and law enforcement involved in the case of Trezell and Jacqueline West from speaking publicly about it. It also applies to witnesses and court personnel with access to reports filed in the case.
Additionally, Judge Chad A. Louie ordered all search warrants and grand jury transcripts sealed.
Prosecutor Eric Smith had requested the gag order and defense lawyers Timothy Hennessy and Alekxia Torres Stallings joined in the motion.
The Wests have pleaded not guilty to two counts of second-degree murder, two counts of willful cruelty to a child and falsely reporting an emergency. They were arrested March 1 after being indicted by grand jury.
Prosecutors say Orrin, 4, and Orson, 3, were killed three months before they were were reported missing.
The Wests’ defense attorneys have criticized comments District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer made at a news conference last week, saying they implied the Wests are guilty based on their being indicted by grand jury.
Defense counsel, at a news conference of their own held Monday, stressed their clients are innocent until proven guilty at trial, which requires a far higher burden of proof than required for an indictment.
Trial is currently scheduled for May but will likely be postponed.
Trezell West, 35, in December 2020 said the boys vanished while playing outside. He and Jacqueline West, 32, pleaded with the community for help finding them.
The bodies of the boys have not been found.