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Mar 31, 2010 12:42 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Water Mill killer's return to court delayed

Mar 31, 2010 12:42 PM

Murder suspect Alberto Santiago’s return to Suffolk County Court on Friday was delayed indefinitely after a misunderstanding about who would be representing the defendant in his newly resurrected murder case.

The attorney who handled the appeal that recently got Mr. Santiago’s 2004 guilty plea vacated by a state appellate court, Barry Kamen, said he cannot represent Mr. Santiago in his new trial. In a conversation last week, Henry O’Brien, who was Mr. Santiago’s attorney at the time of his guilty plea, also said he does not expect to be representing Mr. Santiago again.

Mr. Santiago’s 2004 guilty plea on first-degree manslaughter charges was thrown out by a state appellate court last month, sending the entire case back to the pre-trial stage it was at when the plea deal was reached. The appellate court said the judge on the case, Judge Gary Weber, was “hostile” and biased in his handling of the plea bargaining.

Mr. Santiago, now 35, is accused of killing one man and injuring another in what investigators said was a drug-related shooting at a Water Mill home in 2003.

The new judge on the case, Judge C. Randall Hinrichs, is expected to assign Mr. Santiago a new attorney and allow the attorney time to get up to speed on the case before another court appearance is scheduled.

Mr. Santiago is being held without bail on the charges

Michael Wright

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