If and when Richard Hernandez’s accused killer stands trial, it will be more than three years after the gay Dallas resident’s murder and dismemberment.
The trial of Seth Lawton Winder, charged with first-degree murder in Hernandez’s September 2008 slaying, has again been delayed — this time till October, according to Denton County online court records. The trial was scheduled to begin May 23, but a judge reportedly has granted yet another continuance.
We’ve got calls in to Jamie Beck, first assistant district attorney for Denton County, as well as Derek A. Adame, Winder’s court-appointed attorney. And we’ll update when we hear back. But for now, we spoke with Hernandez’s close friend, Rudy Araiza, who noted that this marks the fifth time the trial has been rescheduled.
“You can imagine how frustrating that is for me,” Araiza said of the latest continuance. “They’ve already had so many. When something like this lingers around, it’s like a broken record that you hear over and over again, and eventually you don’t want to hear it anymore. It just brings more pain than a happy ending. You’re at the mercy of the judicial system.”
Winder’s trial is now set for Oct. 3.
UPDATE: We heard back from Beck in the DA’s office, who says the prosecution requested the continuance. Here’s her explanation:
“About once a year we move prosecutors from one court to another, and they take over all court’s files that were previously there but are new to them,” Beck said. “Seth Winder’s case is a very serious case in our office, and with a prosecutor just getting the file, after he looked through it, he felt that it needed more attention, that there was some stuff that wasn’t in admissable form yet, and he wanted to take his time to get it ready the way he wanted to. And we have to trust him, he’s done most of our high-profile murder cases and recently just a won a conviction in a case with no body, which as in Winder’s case there’s no true body, so we feel he’s the best man for the job and he needed more time. It probably would have been sooner than October, but that was just the court’s docket. So yes, we delayed it, this one’s completely on us, but we think it’s the right thing to do.”