No Plea from Hoeft-Edenfield in UC Stabbing Case

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday June 19, 2008 - 09:47:00 AM

Berkeley City College student Andrew Hoeft-Edenfield—charged with the murder of UC Berkeley nuclear engineering student Chris Wootton—did not enter a plea during an appearance June 12 at the Alameda County Superior Court. 

Judge John True ordered the case to be continued to July 15 to give the district attorney and Deputy Defender Tony Cheng—who is representing Hoeft-Edenfield—time to review the case. 

Nuclear engineering student Wootton, 21, a Sigma Pi fraternity member, was stabbed once in his upper chest, between his ribs, in front of a group of students outside the Chi Omega sorority house on Piedmont Avenue on May 3. Hoeft-Edenfield, 20, was arrested later that day. 

Hoeft-Edenfield’s mother Ellen, who lives in Berkeley, declined to comment on the case Thursday at the courthouse. 

“Our lawyers have told us not to comment,” she said, standing outside the Wiley W. Manuel courtroom in Oakland with friends and family. “I want everything to come out in court.” 

Three of Hoeft-Edenfield’s friends from Berkeley City College also came to court, but they said Hoeft-Edenfield’s lawyers had asked them not to talk about the case. 

Cheng requested that Judge True give both sides time to review documents, tapes and CDs before proceeding with the case. 

He also requested sealed envelopes containing letters from Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley, where Wootton was taken after being stabbed, and asked for letters from MySpace.com to be delivered to the court. 

Wootton’s MySpace page contained an April 16, 2006 entry by Wootton where he recounts taking part in a drunken group beating of someone he accuses of having “disrespected” one of his fraternity members. Some of Wootton’s family and friends have suggested that Wootton may have been trying to break up a fight when he got stabbed.  

Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Greg Dolge, who will be prosecuting Hoeft-Edenfield, said he could not comment on why documents from MySpace.com were requested. 

“No comments on the context of the case,” he said. “We are in the process of preparing the case right now and reviewing all the information.”