Burmese refugee on trial for murder in Utah might be saved from death penalty, why?

He may have lied on his documents to get into the US and may have been under 18 when he allegedly brutally raped and murdered a little Burmese Christian girl in 2008.   Gee, I wonder where his defense lawyers got this idea (4 years later!)?  Could they have been watching the Somali trial in Tennessee where the alleged sex traffickers are using the missing birth records defense too.

Here is one of several posts I wrote about the Utah case in 2008.  I wondered then, and still do, if the accused is a Muslim.  I had heard at the time that resettlement contractors were placing Burmese Muslims in buildings and neighborhoods with Christian Burmese refugees and that the Christians feared them (since they had been enemies in their home country!).   As a matter of fact, several of the federal refugee contractors and their lobbying arm–Refugee Council USA–were pushing for more Burmese Muslims to be allowed into the US in 2013 at the meeting I attended on Tuesday.

I have never heard which of the many Burmese ethnic groups the accused, Esar Met, came from.

I wondered what happened to the case, but it looks like it finally inches toward trial with a preliminary hearing in June (4 years after the murder!).  Can you imagine how much this refugee is costing the taxpayers of Utah.  You can bet he is not in the general jail population.  There have probably been many many psychiatrist visits and expensive translators visiting regularly.  As a matter of fact, it would help to know which ethnic dialect he speaks—we would know then if he is a Muslim.

Here is a reform idea!  The resettlement contractor which brought Met to Utah should pay his legal expenses!  Maybe they would then push the Department of Homeland Security and the US State Department to do a better job of screening “refugees!”

From AP in an Indiana newspaper:

SALT LAKE CITY — Attorneys for a Burmese refugee accused of a South Salt Lake killing say there’s no proof he was an adult when the crime happened, and the death penalty should be taken off the table.

Esar Met’s birthday is listed as January 1987, which means he would have been 21 when 7-year-old refugee girl Hser Ner Moo was found dead in his apartment in spring 2008.

But attorneys filed a motion in Salt Lake City’s 3rd District Court this week saying Met and his family aren’t sure of the man’s date or year of birth.

“There is no existing paperwork, and there likely never was any paperwork, documenting the date of Mr. Met’s birth in Burma,” the documents say.

It would be illegal to execute Met if he were younger than 18 at the time of the crime, according to the motion. Lawyers cite a 2005 Supreme Court ruling that banned capital punishment for minors.

Not knowing a birthday isn’t uncommon among refugees.

So he lied to those doing security clearances for the US?  Readers, we don’t really know who we are letting into the country.  And, we have heard that in some Burmese camps a criminal can get into camp and literally steal the identity of someone else.

Salt Lake County prosecutor Rob Parrish told the Associated Press on Friday that the lack of documents “creates complications, but it’s not insurmountable.”

His office is researching a response to the motion in advance of Met’s preliminary hearing, which is set for June.

Parrish said refugees sometimes encounter similar problems while trying to determine whether they’re old enough to get a driver’s license or to enroll in a specific program.

Just as I was about to post this, I came across this article I missed in 2010 in which we are told that authorities had trouble finding Met’s family members in Arizona, but the article wraps up with a report that Met’s mother says he was even older than 21 at the time of the alleged crime.   However, if as the defense argues Met was a teenager at the time of the murder, why wasn’t he still with his family?  Why was he resettled in another state?  Was he a perhaps a fraudulent family reunification case?  So many questions!

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