The trial date for capital murder suspect Gustavo Zavala-Garcia has been postponed.
Zavala-Garcia, 25, is accused of killing 10-year-old Kayla Gomez-Orozco in November 2016.
The accused, who was related to Kayla by marriage, was reportedly among the last people to see her before she went missing Nov. 1, 2016, from the foyer of Bullard First Assembly on U.S. Highway 69.
The girl's body was found four days later in a well on the property where Zavala-Garcia lived in the 22100 block of Farm-to-Market Road 2493 (Old Jacksonville Highway) in Bullard.
Judge Jack Skeen Jr. with the 241st District Court said Thursday he would set a potential trial date for February 2018, four months after the originally scheduled trial date of Oct. 2, 2017.
The change comes after attorneys on both sides of the case filed a joint motion for continuance June 29.
In the motion, they cited the massive amount of information to be reviewed and forensic testing to be done as the reason for the request.
There are more than 3,600 pages of paper discovery and 203 gigabytes of electronic information that have been or will be provided to the defense in this case.
In addition, the defense has to obtain and review the analysis of the initial evidence submitted to the Texas Department of Public Safety for DNA testing, and not all of that testing has been completed.
Beyond that, there are 172 additional pieces of evidence to be reviewed by both sides with 69 of those items possibly containing biological evidence, which could require testing.
The indictment of Zavala-Garcia reveals the girl was struck with and against a hard, blunt object and could have been sexually assaulted. The document also reveals she was asphyxiated and drowned, although no one has said publicly the specific cause of her death.
First Assistant Criminal District Attorney April Sikes said the earliest the prosecution could be ready for a trial would be seven to eight months from now, and defense attorney J. Brett Harrison agreed.
The next pre-trial hearing is set for Oct. 5 with all other previously scheduled hearings between now and then canceled.
The schedule for jury selection and individual voir dire also will be pushed back now that the trial has been postponed.
The October hearing likely will include an update about the status of discovery and forensic testing.
During Thursday’s pre-trial hearing, Zavala-Garcia sat calmly and appeared to be engaged in the proceedings, turning his head to look at whoever was speaking at the time.
His frame is noticeably thinner compared with what it was at the time of his arrest, and his hair, which had been shaved at one point, has grown out.
Two Spanish-language interpreters were on hand, with one of them translating the proceedings into Spanish as they were happening for the defendant.