Preliminary hearing begins for 1979 Bakersfield cold case

18-year-old Dawn Koons was murdered in Jan. 1979

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - The preliminary hearing for a 1979 cold case began in Bakersfield on Monday.

18-year-old Dawn Koons was found brutally murdered in her bathtub in January 1979. She was found nude with her hands tied and a cord around her neck. 

On December 20, 2017, Prentice Foreman was arrested for the murder. Foreman was in court on Monday for the beginning of his preliminary hearing. On Monday, the prosecution focused on calling witnesses consisting of former and current Bakersfield Police officers who have worked on the case.

The retired BPD officer who originally found Koons took the stand, discussing his initial findings. Photos of Koons and the scene were shown. The prosecution also called a retired detective, an officer who worked on the case in 2011, an officer who worked on the case in 2014 and the current lead detective on the case.

While prosecution focused on BPD records and testimony, the defense's main argument was that the incident happened almost 40 years ago, and the memory of witnesses may not be accurate.

On Tuesday, witnesses are expected to be called who can speak on DNA evidence that led to the arrest. Since it's a preliminary hearing, the prosecution is trying to convince the judge that there is ample evidence to hold a trial. Defense is working to get it thrown out before a trial.

The preliminary hearing is expected to last until at least Wednesday.

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