Murder trial postponed until Monday morning
February 20, 2003
The first degree murder trial of Lisa Platz was postponed until Monday after a juror called in sick with the flu.
Platz, accused of slicing the throat of her 9-year-old daughter, faces a maximum of life in prison if convicted on the murder charge and kidnapping with special circumstances. She remains in El Dorado County Jail at no bail.
There are 18 jurors for the trial, six of whom are alternates. El Dorado County Superior Court Judge Jerald Lasarow was reluctant to use one of the alternates so early in the expected six- to eight-week trial.
“I’m sorry we have to waste a day but the case is moving along well,” Lasarow told the jurors.
The trial is scheduled for Monday through Wednesday every week. About 10 witnesses, mostly law enforcement, had to be notified of the postponement.
The prosecution is saying Platz killed her daughter, Rebbeca Aramburo, with a military knife so the child wouldn’t go back to her father. Platz and Jose Aramburo, Rebbeca’s father, were embroiled in a custody dispute over Rebbeca.
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Platz’s boyfriend, James Csucsai, was also in the tent during the police standoff at Campground by the Lake on Sept. 21, 2001, but committed suicide in April 2002 in his jail cell.
El Dorado County Public Defender Rick Meyer is putting the blame on Csucsai, a former Air Force sergeant whom he described as mentally ill and having a vendetta against outsiders.
The trial will resume at 9 a.m. Monday at El Dorado County Superior Court. Gary Lacy, district attorney of El Dorado County, will continue questioning South Lake Tahoe Police Office Rob Heindl who was the first to find Platz and Csucsai’s vehicle, and negotiated with the pair.
— E-mail William Ferchland at firstname.lastname@example.org