Trial for Luis Enriquez Monroy Bracamontes was set Friday for next October, but only after the suspect in the slaying of two Sacramento-area deputies briefly objected, telling a judge he preferred an earlier date.
“So for me, it will be better in March,” Bracamontes told Sacramento Superior Court Judge Steve White, adding that waiting for October 2017 – three years after he allegedly gunned down Sacramento sheriff’s Deputy Danny Oliver and Placer sheriff’s Deputy Michael Davis Jr. – is “too long.”
The suspect, a 36-year-old Mexican citizen who was in the United States illegally at the time of the shootings, relented after his court-appointed attorneys, Norm Dawson and Jeffrey Barbour, conferred with him quietly at the defense table in their latest effort to prevent their client from upending the court proceedings.
In past appearances, he has blurted out bizarre statements, stared and made faces at witnesses and reporters and suggested that his schedule in jail would not allow for him to attend at least one hearing.
Friday’s hearing, which lasted only a few minutes, was one of the tamer ones since Bracamontes was charged in 2014 in a case that could result in him being sentenced to death.
Dawson emphasized to the judge that the defense is not trying to delay the case needlessly, but said his side needs more time to study evidence still being turned over by prosecutors, such as more than 500 pages produced in the last month that includes DNA and gunshot residue results.
“Our client wishes to have his trial,” Dawson told White.
The judge made it clear that he does not want further delays in the trial, saying he has “given this a lot of consideration” before he agreed to postpone the scheduled March 22 trial date and set it to begin Oct. 16.
“I want to state categorically, there will be no further continuances in this matter,” White said.
Bracamontes’ wife, Janelle Monroy, a 40-year-old Phoenix native, faces up to life in prison for allegedly helping him during the daylong crime spree that began when Oliver approached a vehicle in a Motel 6 parking lot and was shot to death.
Where the trial will begin remains uncertain.
Defense attorneys have said they will ask the judge for a change of venue that would move the trial out of Sacramento because of the massive publicity the case has received since Bracamontes and his wife allegedly began a rampage that began near Arden Fair mall and ended near Auburn.
The defense has until mid-January to file its motion asking that the trial be moved, and the prosecution has made it clear that effort will be opposed.