SMITH COUNTY - Thursday’s pre-trial hearing for the man accused of killing 10-year-old Kayla Gomez-Orozco has been postponed.
Gustavo Zavala-Garcia, 25, is charged with capital murder and was set to appear in court at 9 a.m. Thursday for a pre-trial hearing.
However, his attorneys on Wednesday filed an agreed motion for continuance asking that the pre-trial hearing be moved to 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 12.
District Attorney Matt Bingham did not object to the request and 241st District Judge Jack Skeen Jr. ordered it rescheduled.
During the pre-trial hearings, attorneys for the prosecution and defense have the opportunity to update the judge about how the case is progressing.
During the next pre-trial hearing, the attorneys may provide an update about the review of evidence, the status of DNA testing and any further testing that may be required.
In addition, the court could consider any motions filed by the prosecution or defense. These could include motions to exclude evidence, for change of venue or notice of intent to plead insanity.
During a July pre-trial hearing, the judge decided to postpone the trial date from Oct. 2, 2017, to March 19, 2018.
The change came after attorneys on both sides of the case filed a joint motion for continuance.
In the motion, they cited the massive amount of information to be reviewed and forensic testing to be done as the reason for the request.
Because the prosecution is pursing the death penalty, the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure requires DNA testing on any biological evidence in the state’s possession that was collected as part of the investigation.
Zavala-Garcia is accused of killing Kayla in November 2016. He was related to the girl by marriage and was reportedly among the last people to see her before she went missing from the foyer of Bullard First Assembly on U.S. Highway 69 on Nov. 1, 2016.
The girl's body was found four days later in a well on the property where Zavala-Garcia lived, in the 22100 block of Farm-to-Market Road 2493 (Old Jacksonville Highway) in Bullard.
It is unclear what exactly caused her death, and at the time the indictment was released, Smith County District Attorney Matt Bingham declined to comment - citing the restrictive and protective order in the case.
In the indictment, prosecutors contend Zavala-Garcia attacked Kayla and sexually assaulted or attempted to sexually assault her after her kidnapping.
Prosecutors also contend he struck Kayla with and against a blunt object, asphyxiated her and drowned her.
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