Unlike past pretrial hearings, the courtroom this morning was very crowded and included head DA Rosemary Lehmberg, first assistant DA John Neal, and police chief Art Acevedo.
Defense attorneys objected to the state’s motion for a continuance because they say the state has had plenty of time--it’s been more than a year since they began the new Y-STR testing--to try to find out the identity of the unknown male DNA, and if they can’t match it to anyone, they should just drop the charges.
Furthermore, the defense argued, prosecutors haven’t said how much extra time they want and they will be using the extra time not just for DNA testing but for “trying to find more witnesses to shore up their case.” Prosecutor Efrain De La Fuente said the state was not looking for additional witnesses.
Judge Mike Lynch said he hadn’t seen the state’s motion for a continuance until he took the bench, and he seemed somewhat surprised by it.
The judge took about a five-minute recess to review the motion before granting the continuance, adding that at the next hearing on August 12, he “expects the state to give a better idea of a trial date or the court will set one” and that there will be “no more continuances.” Although the defense pushed for a September trial date, Lynch said he wasn’t prepared to set the date today.
Defense attorney Dexter Gilford said he wanted to revisit consolidating all four indictments for a single trial, a defense motion denied by Lynch in October 2007. Lynch told Gilford to file a motion with details of what the defense was seeking.
When the specifics of Michael Scott’s and Robert Springsteen’s personal recognizance bonds were addressed, neither the state nor the defense requested any special conditions beyond what’s considered standard for personal recognizance bonds. The conditions are as follows:
1. remain in Travis County
2. report any changes of residence/address
3. do not contact with families of victims or witnesses
4. do not consume alcohol or illegal drugs
5. appear at all case proceedings
Judge Lynch asked Scott if he understood the conditions of his release, and Scott answered, “Yes sir, I do,” in a firm voice.