The state Supreme Court agreed Thursday to review a judge’s ruling that Martin Pang can stand trial for murder in the 1995 deaths of four firefighters.
The high court hearing is set for April 8, one day after Pang’s Superior Court trial was scheduled to begin.
Pang, 41, is charged with setting the Jan. 5, 1995, fire that destroyed his parents’ frozen-food warehouse in Seattle. James Brown, Gregory Shoemaker, Walter Kilgore and Randall Terlicker died when a floor collapsed in the burning building.
Pang has been charged with both arson and murder.
Pang fled to Brazil after the fire but eventually was arrested there. He was returned to Seattle after an extradition fight. In Brazil, arson deaths are not considered murder unless the fire was intended to kill.
Since Pang’s return, his defense lawyers and prosecutors have fought in court over whether the extradition agreement with Brazil allows Pang to be tried on felony murder chages.
King County Superior Court Judge Larry Jordan ruled last November that Pang could be tried for murder, finding that a letter from the Brazilian minister of justice had waived that country’s prohibition against murder charges in the case.
Pang’s lawyers appealed to the Supreme Court.
“We’re very pleased the (state) Supreme Court has agreed to consider intervening to prevent a violation of a decades-old treaty between the United States and one of its closest Latin American allies,” Tim Dole, one of Pang’s lawyers, said Thursday.
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