Correa trial delayed again
BUCKHANNON – The trial of the last remaining defendant in an Upshur County murder-for-hire case has been pushed back once more, this time to December.
Attorneys for both the defense and prosecution said Wednesday they thought more time was needed in the case of Rodolpho Villagomez Correa, a.k.a. “Chino,” 33, of Buckhannon. He was indicted in September 2013 on one felony count of first-degree murder and one felony count of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in the death of 29-year-old Joshua Oberg.
Oberg’s body was found in a shallow grave along Bull Run Road in a remote area of Upshur County in July 2012.
Correa was represented by his attorneys, Phil Isner and Erika Klie Kolenich. Isner said new items were presented to him through discovery on July 9 and, with the trial set to begin on July 28, he felt more time was necessary to review the new details in the case. He said the discovery items included new witnesses and new information, and he noted several motions are still on the table which need to be handled.
Isner said he also is waiting on a complete transcript from the trial of Jessie Lee Heater. Heater, 31, of Buckhannon, was found guilty in June by an Upshur County jury of first degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, concealment of a deceased human body and conspiracy to conceal a deceased human body.
Correa is accused of paying Heater $5,000 to kill Oberg for having an affair with his wife. A third defendant, Robert Eugene Siron III, 31, of Weston, pleaded guilty in December to one felony count of manslaughter and one count of conspiracy to conceal a deceased human body in the death of Oberg.
“After Heater’s trial, we have several new ideas for how we want to proceed,” Isner said Wednesday, adding those ideas were based on information revealed in that trial. “Without a transcript to back that up, it would be nearly impossible to proceed.”
Circuit Judge Kurt Hall asked if Prosecuting Attorney Jake Reger had any objections to continuing the trial. Reger said he did not.
“I don’t know how we can do it before the next term of court,” Reger said.
Hall asked that Correa sign a new waiver of a speedy trial, although he already had done so in the past, and accepted the motion to continue the case. Hall said he would take up the other motions at 1 p.m. July 28.
“This will be a pretrial hearing, but it won’t be the final pretrial hearing,” Hall said.
Correa’s case was originally set to go to trial in December 2013, but was delayed multiple times. Jury selection is now scheduled to begin Dec. 8.