Appellate court stops Ruiz trial - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Appellate court stops Ruiz trial

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PASCO, Wash. -- An appeals court has stopped a murder trial from getting underway in the Tri-Cities.

Prosecutors today had planned to begin calling witnesses to testify against Vicente Ruiz, accused of five murders in Pasco in 1987.  But an appellate court commissioner this morning issued a stay while she reviews the defense team's motion to disqualify the jury.

The defense claims the jurors have been tainted by comments made by other prospective jurors. 

The appellate court hasn't indicated when it may rule on whether the current jury can hear the case.