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Extradition sought in Wilberger case

CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) — Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski has asked that the man charged with Brooke Wilberger's murder be extradited to Oregon from New Mexico.

Joel Patrick Courtney, 39, was indicted in Benton County on Aug. 3 on 19 counts in the disappearance and presumed death of Wilberger, a 19-year-old Brigham Young University student who vanished in Corvallis in May 2004.

Courtney was in an Albuquerque, N.M., jail, awaiting trial on charges of raping a University of New Mexico foreign exchange student last fall.

The extradition warrant has been sent to New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, whose office is processing the paperwork, a New Mexico governor's office spokesman said. Courtney is not expected to return to face the charges in Oregon until the New Mexico case is resolved.

A trial date in the New Mexico case has not yet been scheduled. It's not expected to make the court docket until spring 2006, said Bernalillo County Assistant District Attorney Theresa Whatley in New Mexico.