The family of a murdered Lake Elsinore woman appeared en masse at the Joshua Tree Superior Courthouse for her alleged killer’s pre-preliminary conference only to be frustrated yet again.
A preliminary hearing scheduled Thursday for 41-year-old was vacated and rescheduled for Aug. 4, with a pre-preliminary conference set for Aug. 2.
The purpose of a preliminary hearing is to determine if enough evidence exists to hold a suspect over for trial.
Deputy District Attorney Jamie Adams explained the hearing was continued because a new deputy district attorney is taking the case and “will have to get up to speed.”
About a dozen of ’s friends and family members milled about outside the courtroom Tuesday morning. Some were wearing white T-shirts bearing an image of Petro, a smiling young woman with blue eyes and blonde hair.
The body of the 33-year-old mother of two was discovered Jan. 11 in Pipes Canyon Wash near Landers in San Bernardino County. The cause of death has not been released.
Petro was last seen Jan. 4 leaving her Lake Elsinore apartment complex with Paoletto, who was her boyfriend. Her family reported her missing Jan. 7.
Paoletto, a registered sex offender, was arrested Jan. 10 in Hesperia on suspicion of violation of the Sex Offender Registration Act. He pleaded not guilty Jan. 14 to the first-degree murder charge.
Petro’s aunt, Marie Butero of La Habra, for whom Petro was named, spoke of the sadness, anger and frustration the family is dealing with in the aftermath of the murder.
“This has devastated our whole family,” she said.
Butero admitted she couldn’t say out loud what she wants to see happen to her niece’s accused murderer.
“I want justice for my niece and the family left behind,” she said.