One of the area’s biggest murder trials in years is scheduled to
begin today, but because of multiple strategic requests by
attorneys, the trial likely won’t get under way until late next
week at the earliest.
One of the area’s biggest murder trials in years is scheduled to begin today, but because of multiple strategic requests by attorneys, the trial likely won’t get under way until late next week at the earliest.
The trial includes four defendants: Gustavo Covian, 39, Maria Covian, 28, Ignacio Covian, 31, and Kyung Kim, 46 – all charged with involvement in the November 1998 disappearance and suspected murder of 49-year-old Young Kim, Kyung Kim’s husband of 24 years and owner of the former Gavilan Restaurant at 6120 Monterey Road in Gilroy.
Attorneys for two of the defendants – former husband and wife Gustavo and Maria Covian – have requested severance hearings to argue that their clients should be tried separately from all the other defendants. But Peter Waite, the deputy district attorney prosecuting the case, requested that the separate hearings not be heard by anyone but the trial judge, who won’t be named until today.
“I want the judge who is trying the case to hear the severance,” Waite said. “It makes sense, and it follows the law.”
While it is possible the trial will be assigned a judge and courtroom this morning, Waite said that he wouldn’t be surprised if the trial was delayed at least a week, if not more.
If a severance is granted to one or both of the defendants, it will likely delay the trial to give the attorneys time to revamp their arguments.
Waite said he doesn’t object to a severance separating the males and females, but he won’t agree to let the brothers – Ignacio and Gustavo – tried separately.
If convicted of the first-degree murder charges, the defendants could face life in prison without parole. All four of the defendants are currently being held in the Santa Clara County Jail without the possibility of bail.