Potential delay in a 6-year-old Madera murder case

FRESNO, Calif.

Brittany Navarra is set to go on trial next month in the murder of Krista Pike.

The other defendant, Dustin Gran was already found guilty last month. Navarra's attorney wants to delay the start of trial, and just before the judge revealed his decision the defense attorney made an unexpected move.

This case has been ongoing for more than six years. The defense attorney says he wasn't given all the evidence and documents until recently. But prosecutors claim Navarra's lawyer has a vacation planned he doesn't want to miss.

A gag order prevents attorneys on both sides from commenting on court proceedings. But inside court Monday, attorney Steven Geringer said if he doesn't get a 90 day delay, he wants off the case.

The victim's father says he was not expecting the curveball a month before the set trial date.

"We would like the date to stay for May 13th," said Russel Pike. "It's been six plus years and we're just gonna have faith that it stays to that date."

Geringer says he wants more time to prepare and also would like to review all of the transcripts from the trial of Dustin Gran. Gran was recently found guilty in the same murder.

According to court records obtained by Action News, the prosecutor alleges Geringer never told him he needed more time for investigative needs or witnesses who aren't available.

Instead, the deputy DA wrote a statement saying Geringer told him, "The real reason was that his wife would be vacationing at their home in the eastern region of the country and he wanted to go with her to help get the home in working order."

ABC30 Legal Analyst Tony Capozzi says the move should be a last resort. "It's a drastic move by the attorney. You gotta have a lot of chutzpah to do this. Judges don't like that. Attorneys, if they really believe they are not prepared, that's an avenue they can take. But you are at peril when you do that. The judge may force you to go to trial."

The judge appeared inclined to keep the trial as planned, until Geringer said if he refuses the delay, he wants to withdraw, the summer vacation claims were not brought up in court, neither was the recent suspension of Geringer by the state bar of California. From February 14th until March 16th of this year, he was not allowed to practice law for dropping a client improperly and not filing the appropriate paperwork.

The judge is set to decide next week whether he will grant a continuance.

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