Attorney: Murder Suspect Went Camping on Court Date

CORONA, Calif. -- A woman free on bail for an appeal of her murder conviction failed to turn herself in Friday because she had gone camping, a defense attorney told the court.

The judge issued an arrest warrant.

Kimberly Louise Long, 33, was free on $100,000 bail while she appealed a 2005 conviction on a second-degree murder charge for killing her live-in boyfriend, Oswaldo Conde, 31.

The 4th District Court of Appeals rejected Long's appeal last week and she was to turn herself in Friday to Riverside County Superior Court.

But public defender Judith Gweon told Judge Patrick Magers that Long was camping and was unaware of the court date.

Magers denied a request to postpone the hearing and issued the warrant.

"I find it very convenient that she's out camping," prosecutor Gerald Fineman said in an interview. "At this point, she's out of options so it seems likely that she's trying to flee."

Police arrested Long, a licensed vocational nurse, about a month after Conde's Oct. 6, 2003, death.

Long called 911 to report she arrived home in the early morning to find him dead and the house burglarized.

The coroner said Conde was beaten to death, but the weapon was never found.

A key witness, Jeffrey Dills, testified at the preliminary hearing but died in a car accident before trial. His testimony was read to the jury at trial.

Dills said he spent Oct. 5, 2003, drinking with Conde and Long at bars. He said the couple began fighting and he took Long to his home, leaving Conde behind at the couple's house.

Dills said that early the next morning he took Long back to her house and saw her go inside around 1:20 a.m. Long called police at 2:09 a.m. to report Conde's death.

A first trial ended in a hung jury. Long was convicted of second-degree murder in a second trial.

At sentencing, Magers expressed concern about the admissibility of Dills' testimony and the defense appealed, leading the judge to grant bail on Feb. 27, 2006.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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