Terri Horman's lawyer blocked from questioning landscaper

Terri Horman's lawyer blocked from questioning landscaper

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by KGW Staff

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kgw.com

Posted on January 27, 2014 at 11:32 AM

Updated Thursday, Feb 20 at 9:12 PM

PORTLAND -- Terri Horman's lawyer will not be allowed to question a former family landscaper as part of his client's child custody battle with Kaine Horman.

The decision was made during a hearing in Multnomah County court Thursday.

Kaine's attorneys brought up an alleged murder-for-hire plot involving the landscaper as one of the key reasons why Terri should not have contact with the estranged couple's five-year-old daughter Kiara.

After hearing arguments from both sides, judge Henry Kantor ruled that he would give "limited weight" to testimony from landscaper Rodolfo "Rudy" Sanchez, but he "can not be cross examined or impeached" in the upcoming Horman trial.

More: KGW's Kyle Iboshi tweets from court

Sanchez was interviewed by police after allegations surfaced that Terri tried to talk him into killing her then-husband Kaine in 2010. 

Police set up a sting operation but no arrests were ever made in the alleged murder-for-hire plot. The issue came up during divorce proceedings and then resurfaced as the two sides prepared for a custody battle.

The Hormans' daughter Kiara is now 5 years old and Kaine got full custody of her after his son Kyron disappeared from Skyline Elementary School on June 4, 2010. 

Police investigated Terri after Kyron disappeared but she was never arrested. They believe she was the last person to see Kyron before he vanished at age 7.

Background: The search for Kyron Horman

In court Thursday, Terri's attorney argued that Kaine's legal team provided only "self-serving" portions of the landscaper's testimony about the alleged murder-for-hire plot. He added that he can't test the credibility of Sanchez without the ability to cross-examine him.

In a recent court filing, Terri's lawyer wrote: "There is no more important decision for the court to make regarding custody and parenting time in this case than its decision regarding the scope of the Sanchez testimony and the circumstances surrounding his involvement with law enforcement."

The Hormans' marriage was officially dissolved in December of 2013 and Kaine currently has full custody of their daughter. Details of what, if any, parenting time Terri should have with Kiara have still not been resolved.

Related: Horman marriage dissolved

Thursday's decision sets the stage for a June trial when the judge will consider visitation and parenting time.

No cameras were allowed in the courtroom Thursday but both Terri and Kaine were present, flanked by their lawyers.  The former couple did not interact with one another in the courtroom.

Kaine said afterwards that his focus continues to be on both of his kids.

"There is nothing more important to me than keeping my daughter safe and bringing him [Kyron] home," Kaine said. "We have work to do. A lot of it is happening outside the courtroom, so we have a lot of things that need to get done. We are continuing to work with investigators and we're continuing to drive closure to his [Kyron's] case."

KGW reporter Kyle Iboshi asked Terri Horman for comment as she left the courthouse late Thursday morning, but she did not reply.

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