Two defendants have been charged with killing 18-year-old Krista Pike in Madera back in 2008. Their murder trial has faced multiple delays. The latest happened Thursday when a Stanislaus County judge ruled that the Deputy District Attorney committed misconduct in handling the case.
It's been an emotional journey for Russel Pike and his family ever since his daughter Krista Pike, 18, was killed. "We had a close bond. She was just loved by everybody," said Russel Pike.
Russel has his daughter's image tattooed on his left forearm to remember her.
Police found the young Madera woman beaten and stabbed in her fiancees' home in 2008. Investigators say then 16-year-old Brittany Navarra manipulated her boyfriend Dustin Gran to kill Krista because of jealousy issues.
Navarra and Gran were charged with murder in a Madera County courtroom five years ago. But the family is still waiting for a trial. First, the case was moved to Stanislaus County after a judge determined both defendants could not get a fair trial in Madera due to extensive media attention.
"If things happen in your community, you want the resolve to be taken care of in that community. You don't want to see it go outside," said Russel.
The drawn-out judicial process split the family apart. "We were a close family, a real close family. And this has pushed a lot of us in different directions," said Russel.
Russel said he went through a deep depression trying to come to terms with the loss of his daughter. The ordeal ended his 20 year marriage. "'I've gone through some lows and now have come back from that to where I have other support," said Russel. Last month, the family was in Sacramento marching in support of crime victims' rights. But justice for Krista is still on hold.
On Thursday, a judge ruled the prosecutor committed misconduct in handling the case, further delaying the start of a trial. But the family hopes to see closure in the near future. "They do want to see some closure and some satisfaction -- so we can move forward with our lives and put the trial dates behind us," said Russel.
Russel and his family will be back in court on May 17th where the judge will determine what sanction to take against the deputy district attorney.