ELKO — In a case where the charge of open murder was filed in 2011, Eduardo Estrada-Puentes’ attorney status hearing was continued for another three weeks.

The 72-hour hearing on Nov. 2 was continued for the same reason. Public Defender Kriston Hill spoke on Estrada’s behalf. She explained to the court that he has yet to retain private counsel.

She asked for him to have additional time to procure defense. Also, she said his family was close to retaining counsel.

Hill explained in the event of that happening, the public defender’s office would prefer not to expend the time and man-hours if the case is to be assigned to another attorney.

The charge of open murder was filed Sept. 27, 2011, and can include first-degree murder and all lesser included offenses, said Elko Justice of the Peace Mason Simons.

According to NRS, sentencing for first-degree murder can include: life without parole; life with a 20-year minimum for parole; or 50 years with a minimum of 20 years for parole.

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Estrada-Puentes, 34, is accused of strangling his estranged wife, Stephanie Gonzalez, on June 25, 2011. Soon after, Estrada-Puentes fled to Mexico.

With the help of the FBI and Mexican federal authorities, he was located and arrested in the State of Jalisco. Estrada-Puentes spent the past year in custody in Mexico City, where he underwent extradition hearings.

Before the Nov. 24 hearing came to an end, the State said it would be presenting approximately 27 witness and need about three days for the preliminary hearing.

Estrada-Puentes will appear before Simons on Dec. 15 for another attorney status hearing. He is being held in the Elko County Jail without bail.

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