Manslaughter case headed to trial

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Finlay

COEUR d'ALENE — A 10-day jury trial for the Rathdrum man charged with manslaughter following a fatal early-morning altercation in downtown Coeur d’Alene last summer is still on schedule.

In a hearing Wednesday, attorneys told District Judge John M. Mitchell they could foresee no reason to delay the trial of 21-year-old Tyler Finlay, which is set Nov. 27 in Coeur d’Alene’s First District Court.

Finlay appeared at Wednesday’s pretrial hearing in a courtroom filled mostly with friends and family of the victim, Jeffrey Marfice, 29, who died after allegedly being struck by Finlay in the early hours June 18 outside a downtown bar.

Fin-lay’s counsel, attorney Sean Walsh, said discovery between the two parties has remained fluid, aside from a small hiccup involving the redaction of an audio recording by prosecutors, but he would work around it.

At Mitchell’s request, deputy prosecutor Art Verharen said he would trim down a substantial witness list his team had compiled in time for jury selection to start at 9 a.m. on the day of the trial.

Finlay, a 2014 Lakeland High School graduate, is accused of punching Marfice in the face on the 300 block of North Fourth Street, knocking him to the ground. Marfice was transported by ambulance to Kootenai Health with a head injury and died the next day. Police said Finlay was harassing three women in downtown Coeur d’Alene before the incident when Marfice, the father of a 6-year-old, stepped in to help the women.

Finlay chose not to enter a plea on his behalf at his August arraignment, prompting Mitchell to enter a not guilty plea on his behalf. The charge carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

A grand jury indicted Finlay on the manslaughter charge. Finlay, a construction worker, played football for the Lakeland Hawks and was named the league’s most valuable player.

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