The trial of a Medford man accused of murdering his family last summer has been postponed at the request of his defense, prosecutors say.
The case against Jordan Adam Criado, 52, has been continued from Feb. 12 to June 18, said Jackson County Senior Deputy District Attorney Beth Heckert.
"I think, due to the complexity of the case, the defense moved for the continuance," Heckert said. "The state did not object."
Criado is charged with 24 counts of aggravated murder and four counts each of murder, first-degree manslaughter and first-degree arson. He is accused of killing his 30-year-old wife, Tabasha Paige-Criado, and children Elijah, 7, Isaac, 6, Andrew, 5, and Aurora, 2, and lighting multiple fires in their Medford home on July 18, 2011.
In December 2011 Criado appeared in court via a video link from the Jackson County Jail.
He sat hunched over, handcuffed and mute. His long hair and beard were in disarray. Criado kept his head down during the minutes-long hearing, but nodded in the affirmative when Jackson County Circuit Judge Lorenzo Mejia asked whether he could hear the proceedings in the courtroom.
Criado's court-appointed defense team of Duane McCabe and Geoffrey Gokey, both based in Central Oregon, had requested delays in entering a plea. Following a brief conference in the judge's chambers before December's hearing, Gokey told Mejia his client was still unable to enter a plea. Mejia entered the not-guilty pleas for Criado.
Gokey declined to discuss any aspects of the case with media following the hearing. He did not return phone calls to the Mail Tribune Tuesday.
Court records show the trial length is slated to be last for four months, and that the defense submitted a motion to suppress evidence on Sept. 19. Heckert declined to comment on the motion, but said the defense had not filed a petition for an insanity defense.
Criado, a registered sex offender in California, is accused of killing his wife and four children just hours after police drove Paige-Criado home following Criado's report that she'd gone missing.
Dozens of emergency responders tried desperately to save Criado and the five victims that summer morning. Criado spent almost three weeks in an area hospital after suffering smoke inhalation and lacerations before being released to authorities. He has remained in Jackson County Jail without bail since early August.
Paige-Criado died of stab wounds to the neck and abdomen, according to autopsy results. Sons Andrew, 5, and Isaac, 6, died of stab wounds to the neck and carbon-monoxide poisoning from the arson. Elijah, 7, and Aurora, 2, died from carbon-monoxide poisoning, determined through toxicology tests.
Criado is the sole suspect in the murders. The first four counts of aggravated murder relate to the murder of the Criado children, who were all under the age of 14, an aggravating factor under Oregon murder statutes. The next 20 counts relate to combinations of multiple victims, another aggravating factor. The four counts each of murder, first-degree manslaughter and arson all relate to the children and the manner in which they died, Heckert said.
"The death penalty is an option for the jury to consider," Heckert said.
Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.