BRENTWOOD — A judge has granted another extension for the state to seek an indictment against a homeless man accused of murdering an Exeter woman last summer.
“Absent a really good reason, this will be the last extension of the indictment deadline,” Rockingham County Superior Court Judge Andrew Schulman wrote in an order issued last week.
Deputy Attorney General Jane Young filed a motion on July 2 asking the court to extend the deadline to indict Derek Webber to Sept. 6.
Webber, 31, was arrested in connection with murder and arson a few days after the body of 65-year-old Carol Felides was found inside her mobile home at 66 Hayes Park after a fire on June 19, 2018.
He was charged with second-degree murder for allegedly “recklessly” causing her death. He also faces an arson charge alleging he knew the home was occupied when he started a fire.
Under the New Hampshire Rule of Criminal Procedure, the court is required to dismiss charges if a grand jury doesn’t formally indict a defendant within 90 days of the charges being filed. An indictment is not an indication of guilt; rather, it means that a grand jury felt there was enough evidence to bring the case to trial.
Courts can extend the indictment deadline at the request of prosecutors. Several extensions have been given to prosecutors in the Webber case as they continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding the murder.
The most recent extension gave prosecutors until July 9 to seek an indictment, but Young says she needs until Sept. 6.
“Facets of the investigation remain ongoing,” she said Wednesday.
Young said extensions are not unusual in more complex cases.
“The extension is requested because the state and defense have been actively communicating about this case, and additional time is necessary to further those discussions,” she wrote in her motion.
Her motion continued, “In the event that the state has not made an adequate showing of a compelling interest to extend its grand jury deadline, the state requests that the court permit it to present specific information about the discussions with defense counsel, and how these discussions are necessary prior to presenting charges to the grand jury.”
Webber has waived his right to a speedy indictment and trial.
According to court documents, Webber said he waived the rights only to allow his attorney to continue to investigate his case and prepare a defense.