Photo by WILLIAM DESHAZER, Naples Daily News // Buy this photo
FORT MYERS — Accused killer Luis Gonzalez may head to trial by September to face a manslaughter charge in the 2008 death of a Bonita Springs woman.
The family of victim Tia Poklemba attended a hearing Tuesday for Gonzalez, 28, during which the defense requested more time to prepare the case, including scheduling a reconstruction of the crash that took Poklemba’s life.
Her mother and two sisters were at the hearing, which lasted about five minutes. The family members declined to comment after seeing Gonzalez in the courtroom.
Poklemba was 25 years old in August 2008 when she was run over by a car later linked to Gonzalez. Passersby found her clinging to life in the road early in the morning, however Poklemba died of her injuries.
An arrest warrant was made for Gonzalez, who fled to Mexico. Acting on a tip, Mexican authorities located and arrested him in his stepfather’s hometown there last year and extradited him to Lee County, where he has remained in jail since October.
Defense attorney Donald Day said in court Tuesday that he would file a motion that Florida’s Justice Administrative Commission cover the costs of accident reconstruction, because his client cannot pay for it.
Lee Circuit Judge Edward J. Volz, Jr, who presided over Tuesday’s hearing, will have to sign off on the request.
Video recordings show Gonzalez and Poklemba at the same bar the night before her death.
Court documents released last year describe in detail the evidence that led detectives to Gonzalez, including human tissue on the vehicle and a bloody tire imprint at the scene on Pioneer Road.
According to a report by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office about a month after Poklemba’s death, Gonzalez confessed to his pregnant girlfriend at the time that he struck Poklemba with his car. He faces felony charges of negligent manslaughter and failing to remain at a fatal crash scene.
Gonzalez’s next hearing is scheduled for mid-July. Assistant State Attorney Dan Feinberg, one of two prosecutors assigned to the case, expects a trial to start by early fall.