Former student Isaac Campbell, charged in the murder of his ex-girlfriend Liya "Jessie" Lu, appeared in an Alhambra Superior Court on Wednesday in another pretrial hearing, where Judge Laura Priver set the trial date for August 20.


Former student Isaac Campbell, charged in the murder of his ex-girlfriend Liya “Jessie” Lu, appeared in an Alhambra Superior Court on Wednesday in another pretrial hearing, where Judge Laura Priver set the trial date for August 20.Deputy District Attorney Steve Ipson told the court that he was waiting for a report that would be available next week. He did not indicate what might be in the report.

Campbell has been in jail since 2007, awaiting a trial that has been continued and delayed for years. The trial date has been rescheduled several times at the request of both the prosecution and the defense.

“I guess they’re working hard, it’s just taking a while,” said Judge Priver to Campbell on Wednesday, breaking the tension.

“From our perspective, the case is the same,” said Ipson after the hearing.

Public Defender Jim Duffy had filed to dismiss the case against Campbell in March, citing lack of evidence, but the motion was denied and a trial date was set for May 9. Since then, various pretrial hearings have kept the case static.

Lu’s cause of death has not been determined yet, and may never be, due to the state of her body when it was found. The coroner’s report revealed that Lu’s body had no external or internal evidence of injuries, and was in an advanced state of decomposition.

According to Ipson, that has been a major obstacle to moving the case forward, although the coroner’s report stated that considering the circumstances in which the body was disposed of, the manner of death was homicidal.

In April 2009, Los Angeles County Medical Examiner Pedro Ortiz testified in a preliminary hearing to determine whether there was enough evidence to charge Campbell with Lu’s murder.

“The body was mummified,” Ortiz said. “I was not able to determine a cause of death. But the way it was discovered clearly indicates deliberate concealment of the body. I think it’s a homicide.”

Lu went missing in August 2007 and was found at a home in Arcadia in a recycling bin filled with cat litter in September. She was last seen at Campbell’s apartment, according to witnesses.

Lu graduated from PCC in 2006 with an Associate’s in Arts degree and had reapplied for the nursing program, where Campbell was already a student.

According to his father Maceo Campbell, his son and Lu and had dated for several years.

Her body was discovered by an acquaintance of Campbell’s, Michael Darby. Campbell had asked Darby if he could store some things in the garage of his house, including the blue recycling bin Lu was found in.

In April 2009 Darby testified in a preliminary hearing that police had come to his work in September 2007 asking if he knew Campbell’s whereabouts, and if he was aware that Lu was missing. Darby told Ipson that he went back home and immediately opened the recycling bin and found clothes.

“There was kitty litter under the clothes, it was just poured in there,” Darby said. “There was a bag in there. I opened the bag a little bit and I smelled death. If you’ve ever smelled death before you know it does not smell good.

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