gavel and justice scales

The criminal case against Larry Derrera, once a witness but now a suspect in the stabbing death of a 25-year-old man in 2017, moved forward on Monday afternoon.

Derrera waived his right to a preliminary hearing in Keith County Court. The 35-year-old Ogallala resident is charged with second-degree murder in the death of John Fratis.

Derrera didn’t speak during the short court hearing except in confirming his understanding of the motion.

Derrera, who was arrested May 22, is also charged with two counts each of possessing a deadly weapon while committing a felony and being an accessory to a felony, along with a count each of using a deadly weapon to commit a felony and second-degree assault.

His next court appearance will be in district court. No date has been set yet.

He remains confined to the Keith County Jail on $500,000 bail. He must post 10% of that to be set free.

Derrera’s arrest came three weeks after charges against 18-year-old Amadeus Leroux were dismissed after a review of DNA evidence on the weapon involved and other significant locations ruled out the Denver resident as the perpetrator.

According to court documents, the analysis reflected significant DNA evidence from Derrera and another individual who was in the Ogallala house where Fratis was stabbed to death on March 28, 2017.

Both Derrera and the other individual — who has not been charged — gave testimony to law enforcement officials at the time that pinned the incident on Leroux, who was 15 at the time.

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