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Hearing on 2008 murder of Burmese girl in Utah begins Wednesday

Published November 6, 2012 7:32 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Prosecutors will get another chance this week to begin laying out the evidence in the case against a Burmese man accused in a 2008 murder.

A preliminary hearing scheduled earlier this year for 25-year-old Esar Met was canceled due to concerns about the quality of the interpreters in the case. The hearing, which will determine whether there is enough evidence against Met to proceed to trial, is scheduled to begin Wednesday in 3rd District Court.

"It has been something that everybody has worked very hard on and it's been a case with its own complexities," said Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill on Tuesday. "But the goal has always been to move this along through the criminal justice system."

Met is charged with aggravated murder and child kidnapping in connection with the death of 7-year-old Hser Ner Moo in March 2008. The girl, a Burmese refugee herself, went missing March 31, 2008, prompting a massive search by hundreds of volunteers and law enforcement. She was found the next day, beaten and raped inside Met's South Salt Lake apartment, according to court documents.

The case against Met has been delayed numerous times as attorneys on both sides dealt with cultural and language barriers in the case.

Most recently, Met's defense attorneys called into question the quality of the court interpreters. Prosecutor Rob Parrish has said there are no Burmese interpreters in the United States who meet the highest certification level for court interpreters. A judge, however, has approved three interpreters for the seven-day preliminary hearing.

afalk@sltrib.com

Twitter: @aaronfalks