WALLA WALLA — The trial for a man accused of shooting to death a Walla Walla woman is being postponed in Superior Court to allow for further investigation and analysis by both sides in the case.
Carlos Valdez, 17, now is scheduled to face a Superior Court jury starting May 1 on the charge of first-degree murder.
The trial initially was slated to start March 3, but Valdez has waived his right to a speedy trial.
Prosecuting Attorney Jim Nagle explained in an email to the Union-Bulletin that no results on testing of evidence have been received from a state crime lab, “and it is highly unlikely that we and the defense would have it back in time to adequately prepare.”
Valdez is being tried as an adult for allegedly killing Yesica Olivos, 20, sometime on the evening of Dec. 31 or early Jan. 1 on Frog Hollow Road where it turns into Mojonnier Road at the Walla Walla River Bridge.
Officials believe that, for some reason, Valdez, an alleged gang member, shot Olivos after they traveled to the area in a car occupied by three other people, including his girlfriend, Breanne “Breezy” Rutherford.
An unnamed source in the car was asleep, but awoke by a gunshot and saw Valdez drag Olivos to the edge of the road, according to a Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Office report filed in court.
A passer-by discovered her body down a 25-foot embankment on Jan. 3.
A specific motive has been unclear. Olivos had been hanging out with Valdez and other gang members and affiliates for a couple of days before she was killed, officials said.
Valdez — who claims to have lived recently with his mother in Royal City, Wash. — was charged Jan. 7 and arrested later in the day at a Spokane motel following a standoff with law enforcement there.
He is incarcerated in the Walla Walla County Jail in lieu of $500,000 bail. If convicted as charged, he would be ordered to serve 20-30 years in prison under the state’s standard-range sentencing laws.
Two people are accused of helping Valdez after the murder occurred. His girlfriend, Rutherford, 21, and Andres Torres-Rodrigues, 23, each is scheduled for trial beginning March 11 on a charge of first-degree rendering criminal assistance.