With almost two months left until Pedro Bravo’s defense team is supposed to finish collecting depositions, the lead attorney told an Alachua County judge on Tuesday afternoon that he needed more time.
Michael Ruppert, who represents Bravo in his ongoing murder case, said during a case management hearing at the Alachua County Courthouse that he planned to file a written motion to extend the Jan. 14 deadline so he and his team could interview additional witnesses scheduled for later that month.
“We have a slew of depositions in January,” he said.
State prosecutors objected the motion. Judge Robert K. Groeb, who will replace Judge Denise Ferrero in overseeing the case in 2014, will review it and make a decision, said State Attorney’s Office spokesman Darry Lloyd.
Bravo, the 20-year-old former Santa Fe College student accused of kidnapping and murdering UF student Christian Aguilar, has already appeared in court a half-dozen times since 2012.
On Tuesday, he emerged from a side door in the courtroom, handcuffed and wearing a red jumpsuit. He glanced at a group of people, including his parents, sitting behind him.
Aguilar’s family and several supporters, who drove more than four hours from Miami, wore white “Justice for Christian” T-shirts and sat quietly on the opposite side of the room during the brief hearing.
More than a year after Bravo’s arrest, a trial date has yet to be set.
Although Tuesday’s hearing resulted in another delay, Carlos Aguilar, Christian Aguilar’s father, said he and his family are frustrated with the case’s slow pace as it moves into 2014.
“I understand this is part of the system. We don’t want appeal after appeal,” he said. “Nothing is going to bring Christian back, but I’ll still be looking for justice.”
David Kiliszek, Carlos Aguilar’s 31-year-old cousin from Broward County, agreed.
“It’s overwhelming … when all the defense is telling you is that they need more time,” he said.
Bravo’s next case management hearing is scheduled for Jan. 14.
Aguilar, an 18-year-old UF biomedical engineering freshman, was reported missing Sept. 20, 2012. A month later, two hunters found his half-buried body in a wooded area 40 miles southwest of Gainesville.
Gainesville Police arrested Bravo four days after Aguilar’s disappearance. Bravo has since been charged with kidnapping, homicide, lying to police, providing false reports, mishandling human remains, tampering with physical evidence, and poisoning food and/or water with the intent to kill or injure a person, according to court records.
He remains in custody at the Alachua County Jail.
A version of this story ran on page 1 on 11/13/2013 under the headline "Pedro Bravo’s lawyer to request later deadline"