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Convicted murderer seeking a new trail
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Richard Howard Watkins, convicted of first degree murder of a Manteca woman, is seeking a new trial through his newly appointed public defender Douglas Goss.
His request was continued to a hearing on Feb. 24.
Watkins, 56,  dismissed his first public defender Adam Grace at a recent sentencing hearing on Jan.16 before San Joaquin County Superior Court Judge Bernard J. Garber, saying he wanted to defend himself – a move the jurist argued against saying it would not prove to be in the defendant’s best interest.
If a Superior Court judge agrees to a new trial on Feb. 24, a date and time will be set at that time and the current sentencing will be set aside awaiting a second judgement in the case. Watkins had already been found guilty by a jury of seven men and five women who had taken only a day and a half to return with their verdict
Watkins was convicted last year of killing Kelly Marelich, 22, in a Manteca motel room on Moffat Boulevard and transporting her body down South Main Street and then placing her body into a dumpster behind a sporting goods store.  It would be found later that night by dumpster divers in search of discarded soda cans. 
He has been in custody at San Joaquin County Jail for the last three years since being located incarcerated at the DVI prison in Tracy on two others felonious offenses.  He was reportedly located through the use of a DNA procedure.
Marelich was an honor student graduate from Sierra High School and was attending Stanislaus State University in hopes of becoming an attorney in her long quest of helping others in the community.
In the mid-January hearing there were some 14 family support members sitting in the courtroom prepared to testify against the woman’s killer and telling how they had their loved one taken away through Watkins’ actions. 
Watkins had lived in the Manteca “His Way” halfway house for recovering addicts for a year and a half prior to the motel room murder. 

To contact Glenn Kahl, email