The man accused of killing a Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s deputy during an escape will appear in a Nebraska courtroom this afternoon for an extradition hearing.
Pottawattamie County Attorney Mat Wilber, expects Wesley Correa-Carmenaty to come back to Iowa without a challenge.
“I think he’s gonna waive, but if he decides to fight it, then we have to go through a long convoluted process of getting a governor’s warrant,” Wilber says. “Nobody ever successfully fights extradition, but it can delay us for a couple of months.” Correa-Carmenaty is accused of killing Deputy Mark Burbridge, and shooting and injuring Deputy Pat Morgan during the escape, and then fleeing to Nebraska where he was caught. If the extradition proceeds without a challenge, then Wilbur says Nebraska will dismiss the charges there. The next step is to find a place to hold Correa-Carmenaty.
“I don’t think any of us think it is a great idea to put him in the Pott County jail again. Not because we are worried about security — more because we are concerned about safety, liability — if he gets a hangnail he is going to sue us saying retaliation,” Wilber says.
Wilber says finding the right place is an issue as most of the surrounding counties have smaller jails that raise security concerns for keeping such a dangerous prisoner. Once Correa-Carmenaty is returned to the state, the warrant against him is read and formal charges are made. If he pleads not guilty, then Wilber says things could go to trial as quickly as 100 days.
Wilber says realistically he anticipate Correa-Carmenaty will get an attorney and the attorney will say he can’t be prepared in three months and will ask for a continuance, which could mean waiting up to one year before trial. Wilber says his office would be ready to go in a a short time despite having three major crime scenes to deal with here and other crime scenes also in Nebraska. “There’s a lot of information to get through. I feel very good about where we are at,” Wilber says. Correa-Carmenaty also could decided to plead guilty and that would speed up the process. Wilber says he had a chance to visit deputy Morgan — and although he is in a lot of pain — he says Morgan is going to recover.
“He’s tough, he was smiling, his brother was there and it meant a lot to me to be able to see Pat sitting up. Just the same Pat that I’ve know working for the county for years,” according to Wilber. “I know he’s got a little bit of a road to recover ahead of him, but he’s doing amazingly well under the circumstances.” The hearing for Correa-Carmenaty is scheduled for 1 p.m. today.
(Thanks to KFAB Omaha for helping with this story.)