ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A judge ruled Thursday that a California man wanted by the Czech Republic in the killings of four members of his extended family can be extradited to face murder charges.
Kevin Dahlgren, 21, has been in U.S. custody since May 23, when he was arrested at Dulles International Airport after returning to the U.S.
Czech authorities suspect that Dahlgren killed the four extended family members — Martin Harok, Veronica Harokova and their children Filip and David Harok — in their home in the city of Brno. Dahlgren had been staying with them for a few weeks before they were killed.
The four were found dead with various stab wounds. Three of the four bodies showed evidence that someone had tried to set them on fire.
Dahlgren's lawyer, Theodore Simon, tried to suppress some of the evidence against his client at an extradition hearing Thursday in U.S. District Court, arguing that it came from an invalid search warrant.
For instance, he tried to submit evidence that Martin Harok's cellphone records show that the phone was in multiple locations after his death, and that Dahlgren was not the one who possessed it.
Simon also tried to point out what he saw as inconsistencies in authorities' theory of the case.
But U.S. Magistrate Judge Ivan Davis said the search warrant was valid and that extradition law requires prosecutors to prove only probable cause, a relatively low standard.
Prosecutor Patricia Haynes said the evidence far exceeds the standards needed to support an extradition.
"Five people are in the home. Four get killed. One flees. That alone, we submit, is probable cause" to support the extradition, Haynes said.
Even further, she said, shorts stained with the blood of one of the victims were found in Dahlgren's luggage and a cleaning lady told authorities that Dahlgren refused to let her into the Haroks' home the day of the killings.
Dahlgren, in a green jail jumpsuit, said nothing throughout the two-hour hearing. His father, Wayne Dahlgren, who is listed as having a Roseville, Calif., address, said after the hearing, "We remain 100 percent supportive of Kevin's innocence. We believe in the arguments our attorneys have made and we're not going to stop in our support of Kevin until he is exonerated."
Simon said he will appeal Davis' ruling.
"We have significant procedural, substantive and constitutional arguments which we will continue to vigorously assert," he said.
Neither Wayne Dahlgren nor Simon would comment on specific aspects of the case.
If tried and convicted in the Czech Republic of committing four murders, Dahlgren would face up to life in prison.
Davis' ruling, if upheld, merely allows the State Department to extradite Dahlgren. The State Department would then make its own determination about whether to extradite.
The case has received extensive news media coverage in the Czech Republic, and drew multiple Czech-language journalists to Thursday's hearing.