An Illinois man charged with killing his wife last month with a hatchet has one week to find an attorney to address whether or not he was competent when the crime allegedly took place.
Cristian Loga-Negru is facing first degree intentional homicide, mayhem and kidnapping charges in the death of his wife, Roxana Abrudan. Police say Abrudan fled her abusive marriage with Loga-Negru and hid out for weeks at a friend’s home in Mount Pleasant before the defendant found her and killed her with a hatchet.
At his initial appearance last month, defense Attorney Pat Cafferty requested a competency hearing, and an update was scheduled for Thursday before Racine County Circuit Court Judge Eugene Gasiokiewicz.
Racine County District Attorney Rich Chiapete told reporters before the hearing Thursday that Loga-Negru was found competent by Dr. Robert Rawski, but because he did not yet have an attorney, the matter would be postponed. Cafferty is not Loga-Negru’s lawyer but was filling in the day of the defendant’s initial appearance.
During his appearance Thursday, Loga-Negru confirmed that he hasn’t yet retained counsel and said because most of his money is tied up in Romania, he’s having trouble connecting with individuals who can access the funds to pay for a lawyer.
Specifically, he said that though he has the means to call Europe, obtaining the right permissions at the Racine County Jail to do has been difficult. He also said calls have been disconnected while speaking Romanian to contacts in that country.
Loga-Negru asked for another three weeks to secure an attorney, but Gasiokiewicz denied the request.
“You’ve had more than enough time to retain counsel since your last court date,” he said. “We must address competency as a matter of urgency.”
The judge advised Loga-Negru that a new court date will be set and his lawyer needs to be aware the “new date is firm.” He also said he would speak to Racine County Sheriff Chris Schmaling about facilitating a call, but Gasiorkiewicz said he couldn’t guarantee anything.
Loga-Negru’s competency hearing has been rescheduled to 1 p.m. Dec. 19. Chiapete confirmed Rawski will participate after Gasiorkiewicz said that experts are allowed in person and/or by phone.
Racine County Eye has reached out to Schmaling for clarity about the procedure Loga-Negru must follow at RCJ, and we will update this story when we get those details.