Rudy Romero, accused of killing his schoolteacher wife, made his first appearance at the Merced County Superior Court via videostream from jail Friday afternoon, but his arraignment will be continued until next Thursday at 10 a.m. in Department 10.
Eric A. Dumars, chief deputy public defender, was assigned the case and asked for more time to review it. Judge Hugh Flanagan approved the request.
Dumars declined immediate comment, but said there will probably be a statement next Thursday during the arraignment.
Romero, 41, was scheduled to be arraigned Thursday, but Flanagan postponed the hearing to Friday at 3 p.m.
Romero is expected to be charged with murder, along with an enhancement for using a deadly weapon. He faces 26 years to life in prison, if convicted.
Diane Romero,44, a third-grade teacher at Peterson Elementary School in Merced, was found dead with stab wounds Sept. 16, in the swimming pool of the backyard of her home in North Merced.
He's now an inmate at the Merced County Main Jail.
Merced County sheriff's officials confirmed that Rudy Romero had been moved from a hospital room Tuesday to the jail, where he remains in a safety cell under suicide watch.
Although there are still many unanswered questions about Diane Romero's death, Deputy District Attorney Bruce Gilbert said earlier this week that the couple's marital problems played a major role in the killing. Gilbert said their relationship was apparently coming to a close. "Sometimes one party can't deal with the fact the relationship is ending," Gilbert said.
Rudy Romero also suffered stab wounds. Gilbert didn't say whether the suspect's injuries were self-inflicted. He did say almost all of the cuts were "superficial." Gilbert added that the suspect had some puncture wounds, but little bleeding and no organ damage. There was no evidence of defensive wounds, Gilbert said.
Rudy Romero is being held at the jail in lieu of $1 million bail.
Diane Romero's funeral was held Thursday at St. Patrick's Church in Merced. She was a teacher at Peterson Elementary School who'd worked for Merced City School District for 18 years.
She is survived by two sons, her mother, Lutie Harris, father, Don Reid, and stepfather, Skip Harris.
Reporter Yesenia Amaro can be reached at (209) 388-6507 or firstname.lastname@example.org