The Superior Court has appointed attorney Janet H. King to represent habitual offender Joseph Acosta Crisostomo, who is charged with the kidnapping and murder of bartender Emerita Romero.
As this developed, the scheduled preliminary hearing yesterday in Crisostomo's case was postponed again after King asked for a week to prepare.
Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho reset the preliminary hearing to March 20 at 9am.
Last week Camacho said that the court would appoint an attorney from Guam to represent Crisostomo as his long list of pending and prior cases have conflicted out all on-island attorneys.
Camacho said he later learned that King, a private attorney who also works as part-time staff attorney at the Law Revision Commission, has no conflict of interest and is willing to serve as court-appointed counsel for Crisostomo.
The judge also noted that King used to serve as an assistant public defender.
King told the court that she just tendered her resignation yesterday as staff attorney at the Law Revision Commission.
King then asked the court to postpone the preliminary hearing for a week as she needs more time to prepare for the case.
King pointed out that she has not received yet any discovery materials from the government in this case.
The lawyer disclosed that she had just talked with Crisostomo and explained to him about the need to continue the hearing.
After the hearing, King told reporters that she accepted the challenge to serve as court-appointed counsel for Crisostomo.
The original preliminary hearing schedule was last Feb. 26. The 39-year-old Crisostomo was arrested on Feb. 22.
The hearing was postponed several times as the court could not find a non-conflicted attorney in the Commonwealth due the defendant's lengthy rap sheet and other reasons.
Romero was reportedly kidnapped near her house in Garapan on Feb. 5, 2012. Two days later, FBI agents found her body at the abandoned La Fiesta Mall in As Matuis.