Casellas hearing pushed back
The prosecution had been slated to call more than a dozen witnesses to bolster their case for bringing the suspect to trial. However, his attorneys told the court that they were not prepared for the hearing and successfully petitioned for a postponement.
Bayamón Superior Court Judge Francisco Ojeda Diez rescheduled the preliminary hearing for October 5.
Casellas Toro, the son of a prominent federal judge in Puerto Rico, has been free on $4 million bail since his earlier this in the slaying of his wife Carmen Paredes in an upscale Guaynabo neighborhood in July.
Paredes, a 46-year-old insurance executive, was gunned down at the couple’s home in the Tierralta III development on July 14. The suspect has told authorities he was at the nearby home of his father, Senior U.S. District Judge Salvador Casellas, when he arrived home to find an unknown man fleeing his residence and his wife dead on the back patio. He says he shot at the man as but missed. The couple’s two daughters were not home at the time of the fatal shooting.
The island Justice Department identified Casellas Toro as a suspect weeks ago and finally filed first-degree murder, weapons, making a false report, and destruction of evidence charges against him on September 5.
Bayamón Superior Court Judge Rafael Villafañe found cause for his arrest during an initial hearing later in the day and set bail at $4 million.
Federal authorities, meanwhile, may consider filing charges stemming from a carjacking claim made by Casellas Toro. The suspect said he was ambushed while leaving a Toa Baja target range on Father’s Day, with the assailants stealing two guns from him, including one that is compatible with the weapon used to kill Paredes. The target range was closed for the holiday.
If federal charges are filed, the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston would assign an outside judge to the case to avoid any potential conflict because of the elder Casellas’ position on the federal bench. A former secretary of the Puerto Rico Treasury Department, he was appointed to the court in 1994 by former President Bill Clinton.