Convicted Murderer Back In Court For Retrial
RICHLAND, Wash. - A Richland man convicted of murder is getting a second chance to prove his innocence.
The State Supreme Court ruled Kevin Hilton will get a retrial. And Thursday he was back in Benton County Superior Court.
In 2003 a jury convicted Hilton of murdering his landlords Larry and Jo Ulrich. But his lawyer believed he never got a fair shake. And now, thanks to a decision upheld by the State Supreme Court, he's getting a second chance.
Last year the Washington Court of Appeals overturned his murder conviction stating:
"We agree with Mr. Hilton that warrants to search his residence were invalid and therefore evidence seized pursuant to those warrants must be suppressed. Without the illegally seized evidence, we cannot say that the trial result would have been the same. Accordingly, we reverse and remand for a new trial."
The State Supreme Court agreed. Now prosecutors are trying to convict Hilton again this time without that evidence.
Bringing a murder trial back to Benton County isn't something that happens everyday.
Prosecutors said they've seen it several times in the past few years, but Judge Vic VanderSchoor said this is the first one that he's seen.
"It's certainly too bad for everyone involved that it has to come back, but justice should be served and that's what we're here to do," said Hon. Vic L. VanderSchoor, Benton Franklin Superior Court.
Hilton faces the same murder charges he did in his first trial. Thursday lawyers set up his new trial dates.
For now his next court appearance is set for March 21st. Testimony will begin April 2nd.