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Motions hearing set for La Veta murder suspect

by Eric Mullens
WALSENBURG — District Judge Claude Appel continued a motions hearing for a 10 am Monday, October 21 for La Veta murder suspect Roberto Lopez following a short motions hearing Monday, September 30.
The October hearing has been scheduled for two hours and could include the judge’s ruling on a defense motion to dismiss charges.
The session earlier this week saw Judge Appel deny a defense motion requesting the district attorney’s office provide a Bill of Particulars in the second degree murder case. A Bill of Particulars is a written statement used in both civil and criminal actions that is submitted by a plaintiff or a prosecutor at the request of a defendant, giving the defendant detailed information concerning the claims or charges made against him or her.
Deputy State Public Defender Patrick McCarville said the record of the preliminary hearing contained one item he didn’t feel was correct. He said the record referred to a statement made by the defendant. McCarville said other than to invoke his right to silence, his client never made any statement to law enforcement or the prosecution.
McCarville said neither he, as the defender, or his client, had a clear idea of the witnesses or evidence the state would present from information already on the record.
Andrew Hall of the Third District Attorney’s Office told the court he believed a Bill of Particulars was not appropriate at this time.
The court agreed, Judge Appel saying discovery had been made in this case before and after the March 28, 2013 preliminary hearing.
Lopez is accused of stabbing to death Eraclio Lopez-Lopez at a mobile home he, the victim, and a number of other Mexican nationals, including the victim’s brother, shared in La Veta on January 6, 2013. He has been charged with one count of second degree murder.
The case for the prosecution has been plagued with a number of issues including one assistant district attorney, Clay McKisson, leaving the office since the case began, and the fact that the majority of witnesses to the alleged crime have questionable immigration status and have been difficult or impossible to be contacted by the district attorney’s office.