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NAPLES — Investigators from the Public Defender's Office met with Mesac Damas for the first time Wednesday afternoon.
"I'm going to be filing a written plea of not guilty, and will be requesting all the evidence that's available in the case, as well as conducting our own investigation," Deputy Public Defender Mike Orlando said. "This is not the type of case where you are going to go into it and resolve it quickly and easily."
Orlando declined to comment on the details of his investigators' meeting with Damas.
"I can say that there were concerns that I had concerning his mental state," Orlando said. "I will be following up on those issues."
The case will probably take at least a year to get to trial, Orlando said.
"We're just at the very beginning stage," he said.
Mesac Damas will not be in court today for his first appearance hearing according to the attorney that has been designated to him.
Mike Orlando, the deputy public defender, said he hasn't met Damas yet but planned to soon.
Kristie Lester, spokeswoman with the Collier County Sheriff's Office, has confirmed that Mesac Damas is not on suicide watch.
Lester said Damas is in the jail's medical unit because he is considered to be posing a danger to himself and others due to the nature of the crimes he is accused of committing, which is different than suicide watch.
"If they have someone who has made an attempt that person is usually in suicide watch," Lester explained as the difference between Damas' current status and suicide watch.
Inmates can also be placed in the medical unit if they have a medical condition, Lester said.
Before being transported to the plane he boarded with two U.S. Marshalls on the way back to the U.S., Damas told the Daily News he could not kill himself.
"I was going to kill myself, but I didn't have the courage to do it, because if you kill yourself you're not going to heaven," Damas said.
Mesac Damas was booked in the Collier County jail this morning and is currently being housed in the medical unit. Damas, who admitted to the Naples Daily News to killing his five kids and wife , has not been cleared for visitors.
When Damas was booked into Collier County Jail at 1:40 Wednesday morning, the narrative was kept short and simple on his booking sheet.
The charges listed for Damas took up one line to describe: Murder - premeditated; 6 counts.
Damas, 33, of 864 Hampton Circle, North Naples, was also to be served with a warrant for violation of county probation following a domestic battery charge and his subsequent flight from Collier County to Haiti. According to the report, the officer delivering the warrant could not make contact with Damas because he was being held in the medical portion of the jail, but it indicated that Damas had been informed of the warrant.
His arraignment is set for October 19 at 8:15 a.m., according to the report.
Mesac Damas is in the custody of the Collier County Sheriff's Office this morning.
Sheriff Kevin Rambosk said U.S. Marshals brought Damas from the Miami International Airport to the Collier County Jail about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday. He was extradited from Haiti on Tuesday after being captured in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Monday.
The 33-year-old Naples man admitted to a Naples Daily News reporter in Haiti on Tuesday afternoon that he was responsible for the brutal slayings of his five children and wife, Guerline Damas. The six bodies were discovered in the couple’s rented townhouse on Saturday night. Family members of the victims say their throats were cut.
Rambosk would not confirm that Damas had admitted to the crime, but said he faces six counts of first-degree murder, which upon conviction, would bring either life in prison or the death penalty.
Rather than take Damas through the front of the jail, where reporters were waiting, Rambosk said the marshals brought Damas to an interview room on the other side of the Sheriff's Office. Rambosk said detectives were interviewing Damas before he would be booked and processed into the county jail.
Rambosk said, if detectives had completed their questioning, Damas could be brought before a judge as early as Wednesday afternoon for a 24-hour hearing. The hearing will determine if there is probable cause to hold Damas on bond.
"It may occur (Wednesday) or the next day," he said.
Rambosk said Damas is being held without bond. Rambosk also said Guerline Damas' family has been notified he is in custody.
"He will be isolated until a determination is made as to what his long-term status will be," he said.
DAMAS FAMILY KILLINGS COVERAGE
ONE YEAR LATER:
- Year after slayings of Guerline Damas, five kids, relatives ask ‘did it really, really happen?’
- Confessed killer Mesac Damas wants to die, so should court system let him?
- Damas family slayings: Year later, still haunting lives of friends, family, deputies
- Jail phone call: Accused killer Mesac Damas talks to father about his slain family, Satan and adultery
MESAC DAMAS CONFESSION VIDEO:
DAILY NEWS STAFF JOURNALISTS TALK ABOUT THE CASE:
- THE FIELD: Naples Daily News staff writer describes how he obtained an interview with Mesac Damas
- THE FIELD: Visual Journalist Greg Kahn discusses being the first journalist at the Damas crime scene, and other observations from the field.
- THE FIELD: Staff Writer Steven Beardsley answers questions about his interview with Mesac Damas