CHULA VISTA (CNS) - A Chula Vista man whose wife remains missing more than two years after vanishing from her home was denied a request Thursday to modify a protective order prohibiting him from contacting his three children.
Larry Millete, 41, is set to go to trial in October on charges of murdering the children's mother, May "Maya" Millete, who has not been seen or heard from since Jan. 7, 2021.
Shortly after his arrest in October 2021, a court order was issued prohibiting Millete from speaking with his children, now ages 13, 11, and 6.
His defense attorney, Bonita Martinez, lodged a request to have that order altered. During a Thursday morning hearing she told Judge Enrique Camarena the ongoing restrictions were harming the emotional and mental wellbeing of her client and his children.
Martinez said the children have expressed wanting to speak with their father. Currently, communications between Millete and the children are first reviewed by a court-appointed Guardian Ad Litem, who redacts certain portions before passing letters on to the children and vice versa.
The attorney said not being able to communicate directly with his children has left Millete "engulfed in anguish" and is hindering his ability to help her in his defense for the upcoming murder trial.
Deputy District Attorney Christy Bowles opposed the modification, stating that Millete initially violated the protective order in late 2021 by making "hundreds" of phone calls to the children. Another judge limited Millete's phone privileges at the jail when prosecutors brought up the issue.
Bowles said since then, Millete has attempted to make 66 phone calls by using other inmates' pin numbers. Two of those calls got through to his father, and the prosecutor said Millete urged his father, "Don't use my name," indicating he was aware he was circumventing the court order.
Bowles also cited evidence presented at the preliminary hearing, which she said showed Millete had a history of manipulating family members. Millete's wife also expressed concerns that he would harm the children, the prosecutor said.
Martinez argued Millete never physically harmed his children and took care of them when May Millete was absent. She noted a period in mid-2020 when May moved out of the family's home and in with her brother, as well as the months following her January 2021 disappearance.
"The children had been in good health until they arrested him," Martinez said. "I don't see why we couldn't give the children the benefit to hear from their father again ... why punish the children?"
The judge denied the request and said that even if he imposed some restrictions, Millete's prior violations of court orders "doesn't give me too much confidence that he would abide by my order in any event."
Prosecutors allege that Millete killed his wife because she sought to divorce him.
During a two-week preliminary hearing held earlier this year, evidence and testimony were presented indicating that he sought the assistance of family members and "spell casters" to compel May to give up her plans for divorce.
However, his requests to convince May to remain in the marriage abruptly ended following her disappearance, according to prosecutors.
Millete faces up to 25 years to life in state prison if convicted of the murder count, as well as a felony count of possessing an assault weapon.