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Murder suspect returns after extradition

A murder suspect implicated in the killing of a South Carolina doctor has made his first court appearance after he was extradited from South America. Criminal defense experts say that the 44-year-old man is charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of a 39-year-old pediatrician. She died in Overland Park, according to authorities.

Officers say that the woman was visiting Kansas City for a professional convention. She was last seen Sept. 3 as she left a social gathering for the conference. She was reportedly accompanied by an unidentified man.

The woman's body was discovered Sept. 12 near the hotel in which she was staying for the conference. Her family became concerned after she failed to return home as scheduled on Sept. 9.

Authorities report that the man had an on-and-off romantic relationship with the victim, and they suspect that she might have invited him to visit the conference with her. The suspect fled to Colombia after the woman's body was discovered, but he was apprehended under a federal fugitive warrant.

The man faces eight charges in addition to the murder accusations. He is charged with identity theft, computer crimes and credit card fraud after allegedly using the woman's identity to purchase items. He is currently being held in lieu of a $25 million bond, according to authorities.

It is not clear whether authorities are in possession of a significant amount of physical evidence connecting the man to the murder. So far, it appears that the majority of the information relates to his identity theft crimes, but no physical evidence implicates him in the murder.

Being charged with a violent crime, like murder, is a serious charge that can lead to a life sentence if convicted. It is important for anyone arrested for this type of crime to not speak to authorities prior to enlisting the assistance of a lawyer first. A criminal defense attorney can help protect a defendant's freedom and preserve his or her reputation.

Source: 913 Breaking, "Murder suspect extradited from Colombia appears in Johnson County court," Robert A. Cronkleton, Sept. 20, 2012

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