A 17-year-old Mexican national pleaded not guilty in district court Wednesday to a charge of second-degree murder and a sentence enhancing charge of committing a violent crime with a deadly weapon in the shooting death of James Pogline.
District Court Judge Paul McLimans scheduled a nine-day trial starting July 5 for Hugo Antonio Silva-Larios, who is being held at the Moffat County Jail on a $1 million bond.
However, attorneys have to determine whether the judge who will preside over the trial has a conflict of interest.
Chief Judge Michael O'Hara will replace McLimans on the bench for Moffat County District Court cases starting in April. O'Hara previously has served as alternate defense counsel for James Pogline and has worked for the law firm of the defendant's lawyer.
"I found out a few minutes before court that there was a conflict of interest," Silva-Larios' attorney, Kris Hammond, said Wednesday. "I don't think I have an objection, but I have to discuss it with my client before I commit to decisions. I don't feel comfortable right now saying either way."
McLimans scheduled both sides to present any potential conflicts at a Feb. 14 hearing.
Motions in the case should be lengthy, Hammond said.
A Spanish interpreter has been called in to translate a number of the videotaped interviews between Silva-Larios and law enforcement officers that occurred in the early morning hours after Pogline was shot.
Pogline suffered a gunshot wound to the head Oct. 22 at the Timberglen apartments and died the next day.
Hammond said that at least some of the motions for the defense would be focused on questioning of Silva-Larios in Spanish by law enforcement early Oct. 23. Because it will be difficult to explain to the court in English what was said in Spanish, a two-day motions hearing is set to begin May 9.
Both sides share a May 23 deadline to hand over evidence in the case.
A pre-trial conference is set for June 1.