ELKO – Accused murderer Eduardo Estrada-Puentes made his first court appearance Tuesday morning at the Elko County Jail, where the hearing was continued until Nov. 24.

Estrada-Puentes, 34, is charged with open murder for allegedly strangling his estranged wife, Stephanie Gonzalez, on June 25, 2011. Soon after, Estrada-Puentes fled to Mexico.

After Elko Justice of the Peace Mason Simons explained Estrada’s rights during Tuesday’s proceedings, including that the prosecution must prove Estrada’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, he said Estrada had the right to continue the hearing or retain a private attorney, or petition for a court-appointed attorney.

Defense attorney David Lockie said he was representing Estrada on a “limited appearance for purposes of this hearing only...” He said this was due to Estrada’s lengthy extradition process.

The office of Lockie and Macfarlan has not been retained by Estrada at this time.

The firm is in the process of speaking with Estrada and his family, said Lockie, before he requested the hearing be continued for “purposes of his (Estrada’s) efforts to retain council.”

Representatives of the district attorney’s office did not wish to be heard at that time.

Lockie estimated it would take Estrada about two to three weeks to retain an attorney.

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During the hearing, Estrada waived his right to have a preliminary hearing within 15 days of the Tuesday court-calendar date.

An attorney status hearing was set for Nov. 24 unless Simons’ office is further notified.

Estrada was remanded back into the custody of the sheriff’s office.

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