LIBERTY, Mo. — The suspect in the killing of a North Kansas City officer might not go to trial for two years.
At a hearing Tuesday, a Clay County judge said Joshua Rocha may not go to trial until 2025 because of the nature of the case, but nothing has been set in stone yet.
Rocha is charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in Clay County in the death of Officer Daniel Vasquez. Rocha entered a not guilty plea to the charges in September.
Clay County Prosecutor Zachary Thompson announced in March he plans to seek the death penalty.
Vasquez died in July after prosecutors said Rocha shot him during a traffic stop. Investigators said Vasquez stopped Rocha’s car because of an expired temporary tag.
Video from Vasquez’s dash camera showed Rocha opening the door of his car and immediately shooting at Vasquez, court records say. Rocha then got out of the car and shot Vasquez two more times after the officer fell to the street.
Rocha drove from the scene but was later taken into custody.
A judge previously ruled the case will be tried in Clay County, but a jury from the St. Louis area will be brought in.
Rocha now has a new public defender based out of St. Louis, so the judge said Tuesday that he still needs to discuss items like trial venue and date with the new attorney. Settling all those details could take months, the judge said.
Rocha’s next court appearance is set for July 13.