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Defense wins gag order in murder hearing

SAN DIEGO, March 10 (UPI) -- A San Diego judge approved a defense request for a gag order in the trial of John Gardner III, accused of killing teenager Chelsea King, documents show.

Superior Court Judge David Danielsen approved the order Tuesday during a morning status hearing after defense lawyers said media coverage and the impact of outside information could jeopardize Gardner's ability to get a fair trial, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported Wednesday.

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Gardner is charged with killing 17-year-old Chelsea King of Poway, Calif., whose body was found in a shallow grave near Lake Hodges last week.

He is also the focus of an investigation into the death of 14-year-old Amber Dubois from Escondido, whose remains were found near Pala Saturday. She had been missing for more than a year, the Union-Tribune said.

Prosecutors would not comment publicly -- outside of a court hearing -- if new charges against Gardner were filed, District Attorney's Office spokesman Paul Levikow said.

If the court order is violated, sanctions could be imposed, including fines or jail time.

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