[UPDATE] Hilton Defense Team Readies for Kidnapping, Murder Trial

UPDATED 1.28.2011 11:35pm by Julie Montanaro

A judge has refused to delay Gary Hilton's trial.

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UPDATED 1.27.2011 10:05am by Julie Montanaro

Attorneys for Gary Hilton filed an emergency motion for a continuance Wednesday afternoon as jury selection fast approaches in his trial.

In the motion, defense attorney Ines Suber says, "The complexity of the case cannot be underestimated." She cites more than 1,000 pieces of evidence, 4000 photographs and a list of nearly 650 "Category A" witnesses.

Suber says the defense has deposed about 400 of those witnesses, but has yet to contact 159 of them. Suber also says prosecutors notified her of five additional witnesses on December 29th, four of whom live in Georgia.

Suber contends that one of the witnesses, who was an inmate at the Leon County Jail at the time, gave law enforcement some information about the case and received a lighter sentence in exchange.

Suber also says there are 180 witness depositions she has yet to read or discuss with Gary Hilton.

"The lack of time to have a meaningful consultation with counsel as to the subject matter of the testimony expected, deprives the defendant of his right to have counsel and deprives Mr. Hilton of his right to participate in his defense," Suber wrote.

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UPDATED 1.26.2011 6:45pm by Julie Montanaro

Attorneys for accused killer Gary Michael Hilton have filed a request to delay the trial.

According to the court web site, the request was filed at 4:20 this afternoon.

Hilton's trial is supposed to start next week with jury selection on Monday, January 31st.

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UPDATED 1.25.2011 2:45pm by Julie Montanaro

Gary Michael Hilton's attorneys are also asking the judge to confiscate - or at least restrict the use of - any handheld electronics from potential jurors during jury selection.

It asks the judge to remove all handheld devices - including smart phones, laptops, and i-pads - because they allow jurors easy access to media reports on the case.

The request also asks the judge to remove or restrict the use of those devices by jurors during the trial and subsequent deliberations.
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[UPDATE] 1-25 9:45AM -- by Julie Montanaro

Attorneys for accused killer Gary Michael Hilton have asked the judge to ban cameras from the courtroom during his upcoming trial.

In a motion filed Monday, defense attorneys contend that cameras in the courtroom will disrupt the defense and imact their effectiveness.

They further claim that cameras will intimidate potential jurors and could impact Hilton's ability to get a fair trial.

Defense attorneys are asking the judge to ban or limit the number of cameras in court when jury selection begins January 31st.

The judge has yet to rule on the motion.

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UPDATED January 20, 2011 5pm by Julie Montanaro

Accused killer Gary Michael Hilton is now counting the days until trial and prosecutors want to crack open his medical files before opening day.

"Gary Hilton"

Accused killer Gary Hilton raised his right hand and answered a series of questions from the judge.

"Do you understand that?"

"Yes."

"And do you agree to that?"

"Yes."

It was a rare chance to hear Hilton speak for himself in hearings that are now nearly three years running. This may be Hilton's last appearance in court before attorneys start choosing a jury to weigh the evidence against him in the 2007 kidnapping and murder of Cheryl Dunlap.

"Fulton County Sheriff's Office from an arrest on July 31st, 1974," defense attorney Robert Friedman began to read from a list of Hilton's previous arrests.

Hilton's attorneys asked the judge to halt a request from prosecutors to look at Hilton's medical files dating back to 1974.

The state wants to know if Hilton received any mental health treatment or medication while in custody at any one of at least seven different jails.

"We anticipate the defense will present a mental health expert in the penalty phase of this trial and so it would be important to know," prosecutor Georgia Cappleman argued.

"The state is merely engaging in a fishing expedition and should be required to show the records being sought are relevant," Freidman told the judge.

The judge ultimately allowed prosecutors to subpoena those medical records, but says he'll have to wait until trial to decide if any of them have any bearing on this case.

Jury selection is slated to begin January 31st. More than 200 prospective jurors have been summoned for that week.

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January 20, 2011 10:30am by Julie Montanaro

Accused killer Gary Michael Hilton may have appeared before a judge for the last time this morning until his trial.

His attorneys continue to file a bevy of motions in advance of the January 31st trial date.

Gary Michael Hilton stood up in court today and answered a series of questions from the judge.

They were procedural questions about a deposition, but it was a rare opportunity to hear from Hilton himself.

Hilton will be back in this courtroom in 11 days for his kidnapping and murder trial.

Today the judge heard several last minute motions, including a request from Hilton's attorneys to keep years worth of his medical and mental health records under seal.

The state is trying to get those records from at least seven different law enforcement agencies dating back to 1974 to see if Hilton was treated or medicated for any mental illnesses when he was in their custody.

Hilton's attorneys call that a "fishing expedition," but prosecutors say if Hilton's attorneys intend to raise any questions about his sanity, they have a right to know about Hilton's medical history.

The judge ruled that even though the defense has not made any attempt so far to claim insanity, the state has a right to request those records, review them and be ready should that come up at some point during the trial.


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