Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2012 | 12:20 p.m.
The trial for Jason Griffith, the man accused of killing Luxor dancer Debora Flores Narvaez and dismembering her body, has been postponed for a third time.
District Judge Kathleen Delaney granted a motion to continue the trial, which had been set to start next week, to allow the defense more time to gather evidence.
Delaney also acknowledged a scheduling issue with the trial date: She’s in middle of a stack of civil cases inherited from Judge Linda Bell, in addition to Delaney’s existing criminal cases. Bell has transferred court duties. The Griffith murder case became Delaney’s, as well, after former District Judge Donald Mosley retired earlier this year.
“I really don’t have the luxury of having the trial go forward right now,” Delaney said.
The scheduling conflict likely came as a relief to Griffith’s defense team, which includes deputy public defenders Abel Yanez and Jeff Banks.
Before Delaney issued her decision, Yanez argued the defense needed more time to secure witnesses from Maryland and other states who could testify about the victim’s alleged violent past, thereby establishing Flores Narvaez as the aggressor.
“We’re not the state. We’re not a police agency, so everyone looks at our requests for information with a suspicious eye,” Yanez told the judge. “There are several hoops we have to jump through to get that information.”
Yanez said the defense also was waiting for a report from the FBI’s National Crime Information Center — an item Delaney countered may never come.
Marc DiGiacomo, chief deputy district attorney, disagreed with the defense’s assertions, arguing there have been plenty of opportunities to review necessary files of information.
“They have provided not a single reason to this court to continue this case,” DiGiacomo said.
When Delaney issued her decision, she made it clear she didn’t intend to offer further trial continuances if the defense continued to run into problems obtaining the NCIC report.
A new trial date has not been set. Delaney asked the prosecution and defense teams to bring their calendars to a pre-trial motion hearing at 9 a.m. Aug. 22, at which time they also can discuss trial dates.
Griffith, who appeared in court in standard blue jail attire, remained silent throughout the calendar call. Metro Police arrested Griffith, 33, in January 2011 after the body of Flores Narvaez, his ex-girlfriend, was found encased in concrete at a downtown residence.
Griffith’s roommate, Louis Colombo, told police he helped Griffith try to dispose of Flores Narvaez’s body after Griffith killed Flores Narvaez, police said.
Flores Narvaez, a dancer in Luxor’s “Fantasy” show, was reported missing Dec. 12 after she failed to show for a dance practice. Griffith was a dancer in “Love” at the Mirage.