Convicted serial killer Gary Michael Hilton files an appeal

By: Julie Montanaro
April 20, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Serial killer Gary Michael Hilton has filed an appeal, in an attempt to have his conviction and death sentence overturned.

The filing on Thursday argues that Hilton’s death sentence should be vacated, despite the unanimous jury recommendation.

It also details what his attorney calls “rancor” and “vitriol” among Hilton’s defense team.

The appeal cites one instance during Hilton’s trial in which one defense lawyer objected to another defense lawyer’s question in front of the jury.

Hilton is on death row for the 2007 kidnapping and murder of Crawfordville Sunday school teacher Cheryl Dunlap.

Evidentiary hearings in the Hilton case are set for October.

March 23, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- A judge has lifted a stay in the case of convicted serial killer Gary Michael Hilton.

That means his death sentence appeal will likely continue this summer.

The case has been on hold for more than a year after the U.S. Supreme Court declared Florida's death penalty unconstitutional in January 2016.

Hilton is appealing his death sentence claiming ineffective counsel.

His new defense attorney and a prosecutor from the Florida Attorney General's office expect to schedule a new evidentiary hearing in the next few months.

"I think we're going to be in good posture to move ahead to resolve the motion pending on Mr. Hilton's case due to the fact that his jury recommendation of death was unanimous," prosecutor Georgia Cappleman said.

"Our Supreme Court of the United States has said that the death penalty statute under which Mr. Hilton was convicted is and was unconstitutional and it begs an absolute question of how can somebody's conviction be upheld," Hilton defense attorney Alex Morris said.

Hilton is on death row for the 2007 kidnapping and murder of Crawfordville Sunday school teacher and FSU nurse Cheryl Dunlap.

A jury unanimously recommended Hilton receive the death penalty for it.