The murder trial of Brandon Micheal Acosta has been delayed after the lead prosecutor in the case, Lenny Rapadas, fell ill.
Acosta is accused in the 2018 rape and murder of 15 year old Timicca Nauta.
Opening arguments were scheduled to begin Thursday morning but Assistant Attorney General Sean Brown told presiding Judge Vern Perez that Rapadas “was eager to get started this morning but he had some medical issues” which prevented him from being available.
“I’m asking for the court’s allowance of a one-day continuance, status hearing tomorrow, potentially a two-day continuance until Tuesday so we can fully get Mr. Rapadas back on track. He was the one prepared to do this trial,” Brown said.
Defense attorney William Pole did not object.
Brown said Rapadas was attempting to be seen by a doctor and that there is a possibility that the lead prosecutor would be available for trial Friday.
Superior Court Judge Vernon Perez allowed the continuance, stating that he understands that delays occur but it’s important that those delays are not significant.
“Because jeopardy is attached, we selected a jury and this trial is going forward but it can not be lengthy and again, not too significant in terms of a delay. The interest for me is to make sure both sides are ready to go forward as well as they might because you’re adversaries at this point. Mr. Acosta is in his speedy trial mode,” the judge said.
Perez has ordered a status hearing for this morning to determine if trial will proceed this afternoon or if it will be delayed until Tuesday.