EL CENTRO - A local man found guilty of murder was supposed to be sentenced at Imperial County Superior Court on Thursday morning, but that sentence proceeding was put on hold.
Gerardo Montes was set to appear before Judge Poli Flores Jr. for his sentencing on the murder of Yuma resident Adrian Chee, instead the District Attorney's Office asked for a continuance in the trial.
The reason for the District Attorney's decision to call for a continuance came on the heels of Montes' attorney, Veronica Henderson's decision to call for a mistrial.
"We have filed a motion for a new trial", says Henderson. We did learn that there was a very egregious juror misconduct that occurred. My client's constitutional rights were violated so we've asked for a new trial and believe were gonna get one".
The district attorney's office says that the stipulations behind the motion for a new trial from the defense are just not true
"The defense filed a motion for a new trial alleging that there was juror misconduct", says District Attorney, Marcos Nuñez. "I am filing an opposition to that motion. We maintain that there was absolutely no jury misconduct. We've made contact with all 12 jurors and we're gonna submit our opposition along with those jurors' declaration to the judge for his review for next Thursday".
It's been over 2 years since the body of Yuma resident Adrian Chee was found lifeless in a field south of the Quechan Indian Reservation; the cause of death, two gunshot wounds.
Two other people have been linked to the murder… Melissa Barraza pleaded guilty to being an accessory to murder. She was released after serving time.
Ernesto Valera is the other. He is the one that Montes says was the trigger man.
Henderson maintains that her client is innocent of the murder charge. She says that the man that is guilty of murdering Chee is out in the streets.
Henderson says that the continuance came at the right time.
"I need time to go over it with my client should it proceed to sentencing. We were ok with a brief continuance for that purpose".
If the judge denies the motion for a new trial, Montes faces 50 years to life in prison.
He is due back in court on November 1st.
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