By Lisa Harding
The man accused of killing a BYU student in 2004 has been approved for extradition to Oregon to stand trial.
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson signed an agreement to send 41-year-old Joe Patrick Courtney back to the state where he allegedly raped and murdered BYU student Brooke Wilberger.
Brooke was last seen on May 24, 2004, cleaning lampposts outside an apartment complex managed by her sister in Corvallis, Ore.
After her disappearance, the BYU community swarmed to help in the massive search to “Find Brooke.” Students wore pink bracelets with Brooke’s name on them to aid in the cause and show support to the grieving family. Despite the comprehensive efforts of investigators and friends, her body was never found and she was pronounced dead.
Brooke’s suspected killer is currently serving an 18-year sentence in New Mexico for kidnapping and raping a 22-year-old University of New Mexico student in November 2004. He is also facing charges concerning the rape and murder of two other missing women.
It is likely that Courtney will contest the extradition order in attempts to delay his trial. Oregon District Attorney John Haroldson has expressed that he intends to pursue the death penalty and wants the trial to occur as soon as possible.