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Al Hartmann
Esar Met

SALT LAKE CITY — After more than four years, the case of a Burmese refugee accused of killing his 7-year-old neighbor will move forward with a preliminary hearing.

Attorneys confirmed in court Thursday that a weeklong hearing on the evidence in the case of Esar Met, 25, will start Monday.

Met is charged with capital murder and child kidnapping, both first-degree felonies, in the 2008 death of 7-year-old Hser Ner Moo. The girl apparently walked away from her South Salt Lake apartment on March 31 of that year. Her body was found the next day in the bathroom of Met's basement apartment. Authorities believe the child was raped, strangled and beaten to death the afternoon that she disappeared.

Met has struggled to understand the court process, which is foreign to him. An interpreter is present at each hearing, which has been part of the reason for the delay that has kept the case from proceeding.

Earlier, plea negotiations apparently stalled when Met expressed his concerns over pleading guilty, due to cultural misunderstandings. Attorneys have said Met is under the impression that if he were to plead, he would be "summarily dealt with."

Attorneys for the man initially said Met would waive his right to the preliminary hearing and ask, instead, for a bench trial, but Met instead requested the preliminary hearing.

It is anticipated that Moo's parents will take the stand Monday.