PROVO It's hard to question a witness when that witness was deported to Mexico before a murder trial.
But the 4th District Court case of Jesus Manuel Holguin-Albo took an unusual turn last week, when a man both prosecuting and defense attorneys want to question showed back up in the United States in the Utah County Jail.
Attorneys will now get to question Alberto Vasquez-Javier in person on the witness stand about what he knows regarding May 21, 2006.
That night, a Provo party, replete with alcohol, turned fatal when, police say, Holguin-Albo fatally stabbed his friend Raul Gonzalez, according to affidavits of probable cause filed in 4th District Court.
Even the defendant wanted to subpoena Vasquez-Javier to testify, said Holguin-Albo's attorney, Brook Sessions.
The first time Vasquez-Javier was being interviewed as a witness for the murder case, in June 2006, he gave his name, then recanted and gave a different first name, refusing to answer any more questions about it.
He was held in for investigation of false statements to police but deported by immigration agents before a trial.
Attorneys planned to introduce video testimony at an upcoming trial until the man came back into the country and was arrested on Jan. 21 for failing to stop at the command of police, according to court documents.
He's in jail on that class A misdemeanor charge, and on a $100,000 cash-only material witness warrant.
Vasquez-Javier still needs an attorney to help him as a witness in the murder case and Judge Gary Stott ordered Thursday that any communication with him must be with that attorney present.
Communication must also be open with both sides, so "everybody knows what everybody else is doing," and no one can claim an unfair advantage, Stott said.
Sessions indicated that his client wants to keep the case going but understands that some delays will help his attorneys develop a better case.
"When this is set, (we'll need) five to six trial days," Sessions said. "My client is interested in getting this reset."A tentative five-day trial was set beginning May 5 and another hearing will be Feb. 14.