Trial date set in Costa Rica killing

Attorney for victim's family will seek delay

? A Costa Rican court has set a tentative trial date for suspects accused of killing a Kansas University student in 2001, but an attorney for the victim’s family says he’ll seek a delay.

The court this week scheduled a trial for Oct. 27-31 for the three Costa Ricans suspected of killing Shannon Martin. Kattia Cruz, 27, Rafael Zumbado, 52, and Luis Alberto Castro, 32, are charged with murder.

But Juan Carlos Arce Chavarria, an attorney for Martin’s mother, Jeanette Stauffer, said he would seek the delay because of a scheduling conflict and to allow more time for testing new evidence. Arce Chavarria said he wanted a one- to two-week delay.

According to documents obtained by the Tico Times, a newspaper published in the Costa Rican capital of San Jose, the new evidence includes an enlarged photo sequence of the crime scene, a video of the victim’s autopsy, and a pair of bloody jeans taken from a suspect’s home in May 2001. The jeans have not been tested for a DNA comparison.

Stauffer, of Topeka, said she was encouraged by the latest findings. She commended the cooperation from the Costa Rican Organization of Judicial Investigation, the equivalent of the FBI in the United States.

“Although this has been a horrendously painful marathon of an investigation, I feel that we may finally reach a justiciable conclusion for the merciless killing of my daughter,” Stauffer said.

Martin was stabbed to death May 13, 2001, a week before she was to graduate from KU.