Gary Hilton May Not Face Death Penalty
Atlanta, GA 1/10/2008 11:54 PM GMT (WooEB)
The district attorney for the Northeaster Judicial Circuit, Darragh, plans to take Gary Michael Hilton’s case to the grand jury in March. When asked about the death penalty for Hilton, he responded saying that he was “not part of any deal made with Hilton to take it off the table” (Atlanta Journal Constitution). Although the Associated Press reports that Attorney Stan Gunter, of the Union County District, said they would not push for execution if Hilton told them where to find Meredith Emerson.
The Union County District Attorney’s office has discussed Hilton’s deal with Emerson’s family. Steven Bright from the Southern Center for Human Rights has said “I would think if an agent of the state made a representation that induced the defendant [to give up evidence], I would think he would be entitled to [get] the bargain…We will have a hard time having a credible justice system if the representatives of the state promise people something and then are free to disregard it.”
Georgia death penalty defense attorney, Jack Martin, commented that the going back on Hilton’s deal would only hinder the case by not allowing the evidence of where the body was hidden to be used in court. “As a general matter, if there was a promise not to prosecute and ha gave information on that promise, that information cannot, should not, be used in any trial…The evidence regarding the body would not be admissible, which would complicate the death penalty prosecution.”
Hilton is currently being charged with murder for the death of 24 year old Meredith Emerson. He is a prime suspect for the death of 46 year old Cheryl Hodges. He has also been connected to four other murders.
According to an autopsy performed by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Meredith Emerson was alive for three days after she was reported missing. Reports show that the cause of death was a fatal injury to the head prior to decapitation.