The man accused of kidnapping and killing 7-year-old Hser Ner Moo made his first appearance before a judge today.
Appearing through a video link from the Salt Lake County Jail this morning, Esar Met, 20, appeared in Salt Lake City's 3rd District Court on charges of aggravated murder and child kidnapping, both first-degree felonies. Met looked stone-faced throughout the brief proceedings. He nodded as the judge read the charges, which were translated through an interpreter.
According to an affidavit filed with the criminal charges, Moo walked away from her South Salt Lake apartment on March 31. The next day, police searched Met's basement apartment and found bloodstains on the carpet and a trail of blood that led to a body in the bathroom.
Authorities believe Moo was raped, strangled and beaten to death the afternoon that she disappeared. Met was found about 10 p.m. on April 1, hiding out in Cottonwood Heights. Police allege in their affidavit that a bloody footprint found in the basement matches Met's right foot.
The judge asked if Met, who is an immigrant from Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), wanted the consulate notified about the criminal charges leveled against him.
"He says he wants you to notify the Burmese consul of his situation," the interpreter replied.
A public defender was appointed to represent Met, who immediately raised questions about the man interpreting for the accused killer.
"I want to know if he's speaking Burmese or whether he's involved in interviews with any witnesses in the case," defense attorney Michael Peterson asked.
The interpreter said he translated for a police interview with one of the men detained after Moo's body was first found. Peterson then said he wanted a new translator "who has not participated in interviews with this case."
"We will do so to the best of our abilities," Judge Judith Atherton replied.
Met will appear in court for another hearing on April 21.