Del Rio Murders: Suspect returns to court

A Modesto man accused of killing his parents briefly appeared in Stanislaus County Superior Court on Friday morning so his defense attorney could ask for more time before a trial is scheduled.

Cameron Richard Terhune, 24, is charged with two counts of murder in the deaths of Ken and Diane Terhune. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment last month.

His attorney, Deputy Public Defender Maureen Keller, asked Judge Ricardo Córdova for additional time to review discovery material and other evidence.

Prosecutors did not object, and Córdova granted the request, scheduling another pretrial hearing for March 20.

Terhune walked into the courtroom wearing a red and white inmate jumpsuit with his hands and feet shackled, just as he appeared for his arraignment.

This time, he was cleanshaven; he had a short, dark beard when he was arrested Jan. 15 and when he appeared in court Jan. 20.

On his way in and out of the courtroom, Terhune grinned slightly and appeared to look for someone he recognized.

When prosecutor Rick Mury stood up after the defendant left and asked if someone with the Terhune family was in the courtroom, nobody responded.

Authorities believe Terhune shot his parents to death Jan. 13, two days before their bodies were found inside their home north of Modesto, according to court documents.

Along with the murder charges, the criminal complaint alleges that Terhune acted intentionally, deliberately and with premeditation. It also alleges that Terhune used a firearm, causing great bodily injury or death to a person.

Each count includes a special allegation for multiple homicides, which allows prosecutors to seek the death penalty. Prosecutors have not decided what punishment they will seek.

Stanislaus County sheriff's homicide detectives have declined to release details on how Ken Terhune, 65, and Diane Terhune, 56, were killed. They were found by sheriff's officials in their home at 201 Stewart Road, just west of Mc- Henry Avenue near Del Rio Country Club.

The district attorney's office has declined to release details about the deaths. Prosecutors said the crimes were committed Jan. 13, but they would not say exactly when the Terhunes were shot or when investigators believe the Terhunes died.

The district attorney's office has said they will not release details about the deaths, because prosecutors want to ensure the defendant receives a fair trial.

Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at or 578-2394.