With reporting from Riham Sheble
Following lengthy delays, the trial of a Kenyan security guard accused of killing American teacher Jennifer Brown has once again been adjourned, this time for four months.
The court will pick the case back up on Nov. 10, about two years after the 40-year-old was killed in her Al Sadd apartment in 2012.
A Kenyan security guard is on trial for her murder, but one of the reasons for the delay has involved his difficulty in retaining a lawyer.
A public defender appointed to him quit the case some months ago, and another lawyer the defendant hired dropped out shortly before a hearing last month convened.
The defendant now has new legal counsel, who today requested more time to get up to speed on the case, and to cross-examine witnesses.
When reached by phone at their home in Pennsylvania, Brown’s parents both expressed dismay at the latest adjournment.
Robert Brown said, “It’s just disappointing, you know. I don’t know what else to say. This doesn’t seem right.”
His wife, Mary Brown, said: “All I can say is that I hope he gets what he deserves. He took my little girl away from me. She was my little girl.”
The absence of key witnesses is another factor that has contributed to the lengthy trial, which began in June 2013. At that time, a psychiatric evaluation was ordered for the defendant.
However, a year later, the doctor who spoke with the defendant has not appeared in court despite being summoned nearly half a dozen times.
The trial’s pace is markedly different than that of Lauren Patterson’s, a British teacher whose killer was sentenced to death in March, only five months after he and his accomplice were arrested. The case is now in appeals court.
Both teachers’ cases, which may have involved sexual assault as well as murder, have been closely watched by many of Qatar’s residents, especially single female expats.
If found guilty, the guard, like Patterson’s murderer, faces the death penalty – though notably, Qatar has not carried out any executions in over a decade.
According to previous witness testimony, the security guard was arrested and reportedly confessed to the crime a few days after Brown’s body was found in her apartment, half-naked and wrapped in a comforter on her bed.
When the hearings resume in November, a police officer and forensic examiner are expected to testify.