Murder Charge Dismissed Against Gilroy Doctor

Another man charged in the death of Doris Knapp is believed to be living in Ecuador.

A Gilroy doctor who police accused of hiring a friend to stab his 74-year-old physician wife to death will soon be set free, as prosecutors plan to formally dismiss murder charges against him.

"Yes, it's a great story," defense attorney Paula Canny said of her client, Dr. German Beldeon, 68, adding that the formal dismissal was expected to occur Tuesday afternoon at the Morgan Hill courthouse. "I'm very grateful."

Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Angela Bernhard said her office first had concerns about the case in July, without explaining more. She added: "In the interest of justice, the charges need to be dropped."

The prosecutor is still looking for Baldeon's friend, who was also charged in the murder, and who is now believed to be living in Ecuador.

This is the second dismissal the DA has issued in less than a week.

Baldeon was arrested in June and accused of hiring his friend, David Galvez Sr., of Tracy, to kill his wife, Dr. Doris Knapp.

Gilroy police believed Galvez repeatedly stabbed Knapp on April 1 in exchange for a free condominium Knapp and Baldeon owned in Ecuador.

Baldeon worked as a medical doctor at two Salinas clinics, including Clinica de Salud del Valle de Salinas on North Sanborn Road, and cared for hundreds of patients. A Clinica de Salud del Valle de Salinas manager told KSBW that the doctor requested vacation time in April, and never returned.

Baldeon also stood to collect $441,567 in life insurance from his wife's death, according to court documents. Galvez was also charged, but ran away to Ecuador, where nationals aren't required to be extradited. There is a $1 million warrant for his arrest.

It now appears Galvez acted independently, Baldeon's Burlingame-based defense attorney Canny said.

Last week, prosecutors dropped murder charges against brothers David and Robert Zimmer, who were accused in the 1989 cold-case strangulation of David's estranged wife, Cathy Zimmer. Her body was found in the back seat of her car at the San Jose airport, wrapped in a colorful patchwork quilt.

In that case, the dismissal was prompted by prosecutor Ted Kajani's affair with his chief witness, which the Mercury News was the first to report, and his failure to turn over a thousands of pages of evidence to defense attorneys on time.

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