A judge on Friday delayed the arraignment for a man accused of fatally shooting a Baton Rouge police officer and his girlfriend’s stepfather.
Ronnie Kato, 36, of Baton Rouge, is accused in the April 26 killings of Lt. Glenn Hutto, Jr., 45, and Curtis Richardson, 58, and prosecutors may seek Kato's execution if he is found guilty.
Judge Richard Anderson on Friday delayed the arraignment 30 days after the defense, led by Capital Appeals Project attorney Josh Schwartz, asked for more time to find Kato a permanent attorney to handle the case.
Death penalty cases are often lengthy and require significant resources. This issue has come up before in this case. In June, attorneys said they were struggling to find the necessary two death penalty-certified lawyers to represent Kato due to a high workload and lack of resources.
Authorities say Kato killed Richardson — his girlfriend’s stepfather — during a domestic dispute on North Pamela Drive that day in April.
He’s believed to have fatally shot Hutto several hours later while police were searching for Kato at a home on Conrad Drive. Kato also shot Cpl. Derrick Maglone in the police encounter.
A detective previously testified that Kato ambushed the officers with an assault-style rifle as they searched for him in the backyard.
He first shot Maglone, authorities say, then Hutto. After Hutto was seriously injured, he crawled toward Maglone and radioed for help, but Kato then stood over him and fatally shot the officer, the detective said.
Maglone was critically injured but released from the hospital May 7.
Kato's case is now scheduled for arraignment Oct. 9, when attorneys believe they will have found someone to represent him in court on a permanent basis.