Mazzan's murder retrial postponed until Aug. 20

RENO, Nev. - The murder retrial of man freed after serving 20 years on death row has been postponed until late next summer.

Jack Mazzan's retrial was to start Jan. 8 but on Friday Washoe District Judge Peter Breen decided to delay the trial start until Aug. 20.

Breen also scheduled a Feb. 13 pretrial hearing on various defense and prosecution motions filed in the case against Mazzan, 53, who has maintained his innocence since he was tried and convicted of the 1978 murder of Richard Minor Jr.

Mazzan was sent to death row in 1980. The Nevada Supreme Court overturned the conviction last January after finding prosecutors had withheld key evidence that suggested drug dealers might have been involved.

Breen, the original judge in the case 20 years ago, had previously granted Mazzan's release on $100,000 bail pending the retrial.

Mazzan's lawyers have argued the charges should be dismissed and Mazzan set free because the prosecutors were guilty of misconduct for failing to share the evidence.

Mazzan and Minor, a judge's son, had been smoking marijuana, snorting cocaine and taping albums at Minor's apartment a few hours before the slaying.

The victim was stabbed 15 times. His body was found in his apartment by his father, then-Reno Justice of the Peace Richard C. Minor.

Mazzan said he had tried to leave but his car wouldn't start and Minor told him to sleep behind the couch. He awoke to see Minor scuffling with someone he couldn't identify. Minor collapsed and Mazzan heard two people running away.

Mazzan ran, too. Fearing he might be in danger and could be arrested for drug use, Mazzan fled to Las Vegas. Police contacted him and he voluntarily returned to Reno, where he was arrested and charged with the killing.


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