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Murder suspect’s bail amount unfair, says defense attorney

POSTED June 21, 2011 9:43 p.m.

The bail review hearing for a Turlock man accused of beating a man to death was postponed Monday because his defense attorney says a prosecutor is refusing to accept a subpoena.

Michael Hoyt is facing a charge of second-degree murder for the death of 67-year-old Kenneth Winter on Feb. 1, 2010.

Hoyt is currently out on a $1 million bail, which was previously set at $2 million. He was scheduled for an arraignment and a bail review hearing Monday, but the hearing was continued because Chief Deputy District Attorney Dave Harris did not accept a subpoena, according to Hoyt’s defense attorney Frank Carson.

Harris is not involved in the prosecution of Hoyt, but is the prosecutor for the case against former Stanislaus County Sheriff’s deputy Kari Abbey, and Carson said that case is an integral part of his argument for a reduced bail amount. Carson is trying to get Hoyt’s bail reduced to $200,000.

Carson previously argued that the bail for his client was an unfair amount when compared to Abbey’s. Abbey, who is also facing a second-degree murder charge, as well as other charges, has been out on a $300,000 bail since her arrest in May.

Carson wants to question Harris about Abbey’s bail and told the court that he attempted to serve Harris a subpoena, but that it wasn’t accepted because of a change in policy at the district attorney’s office, Carson said.

The district attorney’s office stated subpoenas have to be delivered personally to the attorney.

Carson said he will serve Harris the next time Abbey is scheduled to be in court.

Judge Ricardo Cordova said he would take judicial notice of the bail amount discrepancies, but also said it was not appropriate to discuss Abbey’s bail without her attorney present.

Of the 35 designated high-profile cases currently moving through Stanislaus County Superior Court, only four individuals have bail amounts that are less than $1 million, including Abbey. Of the four, Abbey is the only defendant facing a murder charge. The other three are facing charges of accessory to murder, attempted murder and vehicular manslaughter.

To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail sstafford@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.

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