After spending over a year in prison, Orlando Tercero appeared for the first time in court on Monday in Managua, Nicaragua, where he will face prosecution for the March 2018 murder of 22-year-old Binghamton University nursing student Haley Anderson.
Nicaraguan officials have denied requests from the United States to extradite Tercero, a 23-year-old former BU student, according to an Aug. 12 article from Nicaraguan news outlet El Nuevo Diario. He is suspected of strangling Anderson in his Oak Street student residence on Binghamton’s West Side. Anderson’s body was discovered on March 9 after police responded to a welfare check. Authorities say Tercero took a flight from New York to Nicaragua, where he has dual citizenship, following the murder. There, he was apprehended by Nicaraguan authorities in Managua several days later.
Since then, Tercero has been in Nicaraguan custody at the Directorate of Judicial Assistance, a prison more commonly referred to as “El Chipote.”
In Nicaragua, Tercero has been charged with femicide, which carries a maximum penalty of 25 years behind bars. He is facing a second-degree murder charge in the United States, which carries a possible sentence of 25 years to life in prison. State and federal officials have been working to secure Tercero’s extradition; however, Nicaragua is not required to extradite Nicaraguan citizens facing charges in the United States under currently existing extradition treaty.
Although Nicaraguan authorities have refused the United States’ extradition request, the Broome County District Attorney’s Office say efforts continue to move Tercero to New York to face U.S. charges.
“We’re continuing to work with the Department of State, Department of Justice and Sen. [Charles] Schumer’s office, with the defendant returning to Broome County, to face justice, as our desired outcome,” Broome County District Attorney Steve Cornwell wrote in an emailed statement. “The process is ongoing.”
In an Aug. 23 letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Schumer wrote he was “incredibly disappointed” with the Nicaraguan government’s refusal to extradite Tercero and called on the Department of State to continue pushing for a trial in New York.
“Given the violent nature of the crime, the shock and outrage of the community in its aftermath and the heartache of Haley’s parents in the wake of her death, it is essential that this crime be robustly and fairly prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” he wrote. “While I understand that Nicaraguan authorities prefer to prosecute this crime in that nature, we must not accept this as an immutable reality.”
In a statement on Wednesday, spokeswoman Allison Biasotti said Schumer will continue pushing American and Nicaraguan officials to extradite Tercero.
“Despite the beginning of the criminal justice proceeding against him in Nicaragua, Sen. Schumer has again urged the State Department to use any and all avenues possible to achieve extradition and find a way to bring Mr. Tercero to New York to stand trial,” Biasotti said.
Tercero is expected to appear again in court for trial on Oct. 1, according to El Nuevo Diario. Eight witnesses are scheduled to testify against him, including Anderson’s parents and ex-boyfriend.