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John Clauer sits in court as his preliminary hearing gets under way Wednesday.

SANTA CRUZ - Trial has been delayed for a Santa Cruz man accused of killing a woman and leaving her body in his apartment, because laboratory tests have not been completed.

John Bruce Clauer, 64, is charged with first-degree murder for the death of Heather Stearns, who was found dead in his studio apartment on April 26, 2011.

Stearns' body may have been in the East Cliff Drive apartment for as long as two weeks before that, according to autopsy results. She'd been strangled and hit in the head.

Clauer was scheduled to begin trial Feb. 19, but Thursday, his public defender asked to postpone to the case because some of the lab work wasn't finished.

Clauer, who is typically outspoken in the court, said he would waive time for trial until he was sure he was going to be able to get a fair trial.

"The right to a speedy trial is a fantasy," he told Judge Ariadne Symons.

Clauer is due back in court Feb. 28 to set a new trial date.


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