Larry Millete gets new defense attorneys, murder trial delayed until Aug. 2024

Judge allows Maya Millete’s husband to change lawyers just months before he was set to go on trial for her presumed murder

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The murder trial for Larry Millete, the Chula Vista man accused of killing his wife Maya Millete, will be delayed until next August. Tuesday, San Diego County Superior Court Judge Enrique Camarena Jr. relieved Bonita Martinez as Larry’s attorney, at the request of Martinez. The decision came less than four months before his murder trial was scheduled to begin.

Maya Millete vanished more than two years ago, leaving behind her three young children and a husband of more than 20 years. Police arrested Larry nine months after she disappeared and prosecutors charged him with first-degree murder. He has pleaded not guilty.

Martinez told NBC 7 Investigates she no longer wanted to represent Larry due to his lack of finances.

During our exclusive jailhouse interview, Larry told NBC 7 Investigates he already paid Martinez more than $200,000. But weeks after that interview, Martinez told NBC 7 that Larry’s case will average $500,000 – which she says he cannot afford.

In an NBC 7 Investigates' exclusive, Alexis Rivas speaks with the man accused of killing his wife, Maya Millete, a Chula Vista mother of three last seen in 2021.

Larry will now be represented by Liann Sabatini and Colby Ryan with Virtus Law Group, LLP. The judge said that he already met with the new defense attorneys and told them they were expected to complete the case whether they get paid or not, and that he wouldn’t allow the case to be delayed again due to finances.

Sabatini and Ryan did not want to comment on the case to reporters after the hearing. Some of Maya’s family members were at the hearing and also declined to comment.

Criminal defense attorney David Shapiro is not involved in Larry’s case, but he says the new defense team will need to start their own investigation from scratch.

“You’re taking the case over as if you got it from day one,” said Shapiro. “And in a way you’re sort of second-guessing everything that’s been done. What would we have done differently? What could we have done differently? What should have been done differently?”

Sources told NBC 7 Investigates the San Diego County Public Defender Office was preparing for the possibility of being assigned the case. That didn’t happen since Larry now has new private attorneys.

Bonita Martinez also represented Larry in a custody case over his three kids and in the sale of their home valued at more than $1 million. Even though a judge has approved the home sale, Martinez tells NBC 7 it has yet to hit the market. We reached out to his new defense team to ask if they would be representing Larry in those other cases as well but have not heard back.

Larry’s new trial date for the murder charge is set for Aug. 24, 2024. 

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