New trial date set for Utah Burmese refugee accused in 2008 murder
Courts • Esar Met is charged with first-degree felony counts of aggravated murder and aggravated kidnapping.
Published: July 19, 2013 05:48PM
Updated: July 19, 2013 05:47PM
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Hser Ner Moo

A new trial date has been set for a Burmese refugee accused of kidnapping and killing a young girl at the South Salt Lake apartment complex where they both lived in 2008.

Esar Met, 26, is charged in 3rd District Court with first-degree felony counts of aggravated murder and child kidnapping in the 2008 slaying of 7-year-old Hser Ner Moo.

On Friday, a three-week trial, beginning Jan. 6, was scheduled for Met.

A trial was originally set to begin on July 15, but it was cancelled in March after prosecutors said they were waiting for forensic test results.

Defense attorney Michael Peterson said in court Friday that those results are back, and now the defense team is taking those forensics and having them tested by an outside lab.

Despite the fact that evidence is still being analyzed, Peterson requested a trial date to be set for Met, who has been in the Salt Lake County jail since charges were filed against him five years ago.

The case has suffered numerous setbacks since charges were filed, some due to concerns about the quality of the interpreters being used, and others due to conflict between Met and his attorneys. On several occasions, Met’s attorneys said they had reached a resolution in the case, only to have Met change his mind in court.

Hser Ner Moo disappeared on March 31, 2008, prompting hundreds of volunteers to search for her before police found her body in Met’s apartment the next night. Her family lived in the same complex, and the girl was acquainted with Met.

She was found face down in Met’s shower, still in the pink shirt, pink skirt and pink coat she was wearing the day before. Police have said the girl was likely dead within an hour of leaving her family’s nearby apartment.

jmiller@sltrib.com

Twitter: @jm_miller