(LOS LUNAS, N.M.) -- The Valencia County District Attorney has appealed a judge's recent decision to not permit the sister of an 8-year-old boy to testify in his murder trial, ABC affiliate KOAT-TV reports.
An expert had told a judge earlier this year he believed Emily Hilburn would suffer trauma and multiple problems from testifying, and a judge ruled she would not take the stand. But Valencia County District Attorney Lemuel Martinez has appealed the decision, saying she is crucial to the case.
Investigators said in 2009 that Emily, then 6, witnessed her older brother Benjanmin Hilburn, then 10, fatally shoot their father. The alleged motive was years of abuse.
"She was there that night and the father is not there anymore," he explained. "She is an important piece of that puzzle, so we feel that her testimony is important."
Martinez said he knows his appeal will delay the trial, but said it needs to be done in the interest of justice. The case will not move forward until the Supreme Court makes a decision.
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