CORVALLIS, Ore. Gov. Ted Kulongoski has signed an extradition order asking New Mexico to return a man accused of raping and killing a Brigham Young University student in Oregon.
Joel P. Courtney, 41, was sentenced last month to 18 years in prison in a separate rape-and-abduction case in Albuquerque.
Benton County District Attorney John Haroldson said he wants Courtney back soon.
A spokesman for Kulongoski said the governor's office sent the extradition order to New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.
A spokesman for Richardson said the governor would expedite the process and does not intend to decline the extradition.
"I am strongly encouraged by the level of cooperation between both governors' offices," Haroldson said Wednesday.
Brooke Wilberger, a 19-year-old student at BYU in Provo, Utah, was cleaning lamp poles outside an apartment complex her sister managed in Corvallis when she vanished on May 24, 2004, leaving behind her flip-flops and a pail of soapy water.
Courtney has been charged with aggravated murder, kidnapping and rape. Wilberger's body was never found despite an extensive search by police and volunteers.
Investigators and prosecutors have revealed little evidence linking Courtney to Wilberger's presumed death.
A Benton County grand jury also indicted Courtney on charges of trying to kidnap, rape and kill two other women at about the time Wilberger vanished.
Haroldson, who intends to seek the death penalty, said he expects Courtney to challenge the extradition.
A 22-year-old student at the University of New Mexico told police she was threatened at knifepoint, forced into a car, tied up, gagged and sexually assaulted on Nov. 29, 2004.
She was driven to a parking lot where she freed herself and escaped, according to a criminal complaint. Courtney was arrested the next day.