An associate of Chimene Onyeri failed to show up to federal court in Austin on Wednesday to testify on a defense motion to suppress evidence.
The defense informed the court that Reginald Matthews had stopped returning phone calls and could not be found. His absence may have been related to his employment as an oil field worker, they said.
But U.S. Judge Lee Yeakel said he wants to hear from Matthews before deciding whether the evidence can be presented to a jury. He gave the defense one more week to get in touch with Matthews, commanding them to serve Matthews with a subpoena that will require him to show. The defense had originally requested a two-week continuance.
Matthews was the driver of a Dodge Charger that authorities in Houston pulled over when they arrested Onyeri.
The hearing will reconvene on Feb. 21, unless, Yeakel said, the defense has a “really, really good tale” for why Matthews doesn’t show again.
“I feel this evidence is important,” Yeakel said. “I want to hear it.”
Earlier: An associate of the man charged with the attempted murder of Travis County state District Judge Julie Kocurek will take the witness stand Wednesday as the defense attempts for the second time this month to suppress incriminating evidence.
The testimony from Reginald Matthews in federal court is the final piece of the defense’s motion to toss out cell phone records that show defendant Chimene Onyeri was in Austin around the time of Kocurek’s November 2015 shooting.
Matthews was the driver of a Dodge Charger that authorities in Houston say they stopped for making an illegal turn when they arrested Onyeri. At a hearing this month, the defense argued the turn was legal and that authorities had no legal grounds for which to make the stop or take Onyeri’s phone.
Matthews did not testify at that hearing.
But days later while waiting for a decision from U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel, the defense told the court they had located Matthews. Yeakel agreed to re-open the hearing for his testimony.
The hearing begins at 2 p.m.
Onyeri is set for trial on March 26. He is charged with attempted murder, racketeering, mail fraud, identity theft and wire fraud. Prosecutors have not made a plea offer, according to his attorney, Leonard Martinez.
Two co-defendants have pleaded guilty.
This is a developing story; check back for updates.