TAMPA - The Tampa couple accused of kidnapping their two young sons and taking them on a sailboat to Cuba appeared in court Monday morning for a pretrial hearing. Joshua and Sharyn Hakken are charged with abducting the boys, ages 2 and 4, from their grandparents' North Tampa home on April 3, a day after a Louisiana court had granted the grandparents legal custody. The Hakkens were represented by private attorneys during the hearing, after previously being appointed public defenders. Bryant Camareno is Sharon Hakken's attorney, and Jorge Chalela is representing her husband. The couple waived their right to a speedy trial. † Joshua Hakken was clean-shaven for the hearing, a contrast from the thick red beard he wore April 9, when he and his wife were extradited from Cuba.
After their parents were arrested, the children were returned to the grandparents. Monday's hearing came one year after Joshua Hakken was arrested on drug charges at a Slidell, La., hotel and the boys were placed in temporary foster care. Charges against the Hakkens include kidnapping, child abuse, false imprisonment, burglary and interfering with custody. The Hakkens have pleaded not guilty and are being held without bail at Falkenburg Road Jail until their trial.