LANCASTER – The criminal trial for David Grajeda, the man charged with interfering with a public meeting based on his actions at a Lancaster Criminal Justice Commission meeting, was scheduled to begin Monday, but was postponed to late April instead.
Grajeda and his attorney, David Harris, appeared briefly before Superior Court Judge Akemi Arakaki Monday.
Arakaki agreed to continue the case to allow time for prosecutors to turn over discovery to the defense, including two discs of video featuring Grajeda. Arakaki said Grajeda’s defense team might want to interview other potential witnesses after viewing the video.
Grajeda was ordered to appear in court on April 23 for jury trial. He remains free on $25,000 bail.
Grajeda, a frequent speaker and critic at Lancaster City Council meetings, was arrested on Oct. 25, 2011 as he attempted to enter a City Council meeting. He was charged with interfering with a public meeting based on his actions at an Oct. 12 Criminal Justice Commission meeting. View video of those actions here. Grajeda’s bail was initially set at $5,000 for the misdemeanor charge, but was later raised to $25,000. Grajeda was jailed for 16 days before bailing out on Nov. 9, 2011 and then hit with a restraining order barring him from Lancaster City Hall.
Grajeda has maintained his innocence and has promised to fight his case all the way to the end. Grajeda is also a candidate in the upcoming Lancaster mayoral race. The latest delay in his case means that his trial will now take place after the Lancaster General Municipal Election on April 10, 2012.
In other Antelope Valley Courthouse news…
Larene Eleanor Austin, the woman accused of a 2010 Palmdale murder who fled the country and was captured in Belize, appeared in court Monday.
Austin, 30, did not enter a plea and her case was postponed to April 16 for arraignment and plea.
This is the third time Austin’s arraignment has been postponed.
Austin is accused of shooting and killing Lanell Barsock, 29, on June 16, 2010. Barsock’s body was found in the garage of her home in the 37400 block of Rockie Lane in Palmdale.
According to media reports, Austin and Barsock became friends after meeting in the personal ads section of Craiglist, and the friendship evolved into a romantic relationship.
When Barsock dumped Austin to focus on her boyfriend, Austin allegedly shot Barsock in the back of the head and then tried to cover her tracks by framing Barsock’s boyfriend. She then tried to adopt Barsock’s life, according to media reports.
Officials zeroed in on Austin as the main suspect in Barsock’s murder in early 2011 and a warrant was issued for Austin’s arrest in March 2011, but by that time, she had already fled the county.
In December 2011, the case was publicized on America’s Most Wanted, and tipsters put Austin in the Central American country of Belize.
Austin was captured in Belize on Jan. 25 and extradited back to the United States.
Her capture was also profiled on America’s Most Wanted on Feb. 17, 2012.