Rubio case up in the air
Thu, 13 Aug 2009 22:52:03 GMT —
A competency trial date for accused child killer John Allen Rubio is up in the air after a local media outlet failed to appear at a change of venue hearing on Thursday.
Defense attorneys for Rubio subpoenaed several Rio Grande Valley media outlets to testify about their coverage of the case.
The Brownsville man was convicted and sentenced to death for the March 2003 murders and decapitations of his three children back.
Rubio TMs common law wife Angela Camacho is serving a life sentence for her role in the case but a higher court ruled that Rubio be granted a new trial.
Defense attorneys alleged in a change of venue request that "extensive and inflammatory" media coverage about the case will prevent Rubio from getting a fair competency trial in Cameron County.
Prosecutors are fighting to keep the case here.
Action 4 News and representatives from several Valley media outlets were called to the stand to testify before Judge Arturo Nelson in the 138th state District Court all day Thursday.
Five witnesses including Brownsville Police Chief Carlos Garcia and KGBT Interactive Manager Sergio Chapa were testified before noon.
Testimony resumed in the afternoon with several more witnesses but ended without a decision after one local media outlet failed to appear in court.
Judge Nelson said he prefers to wait to hear testimony from the media outlet that failed to appear and sort out other issues involving affidavits filed by local newspapers.
I TMm not going to risk reveal of due process over this, Nelson said in court.
Action 4 News spoke to the media outlet. They declined to comment but said they would contact the court to confirm and resolve the issue.
The court had originally set the competency trial for Rubio for September 9th.
Rubio's capital murder trial was supposed to take place later that month, if he was found competent.
Those court dates are up in the air after the Thursday hearing.
Neither prosecutors nor defense attorneys are allowed to talk about the case due to a gag order.
But legal observer John Blaylock told Action 4 News that Rubio would get a fair deal in Nelson TMs court.
"Judge Nelson has a reputation of being a very fair judge, a very good judge," Blaylock said. "And he's going to listen to the evidence from both sides."
Blaylock said Judge Nelson would agree to relocate Rubio TMs competency trial, if necessary.
He's not going to have any qualms about moving the trial to another location just to be fair to Rubio, Blaylock said. He's not going to take in account the cost and all that out of fairness| he'll do that."