Michael Hoyt says he is ready to get back to regular life now that the murder charge that had shadowed him for three years has been cleared away.
But his wait may be a bit longer as the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office considers re-trying him on a charge of involuntary manslaughter and assault likely to inflict great bodily injury, with an enhancement that great bodily injury resulted
Hoyt, 53, was acquitted of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges earlier this month for the death of 67-year-old Kenneth Winter. The jury deadlocked on a charge of involuntary manslaughter.
Hoyt and Winter encounter one another on the afternoon of Feb. 1, 2010 out on Paulson Road. Some type of traffic incident occurred between the two men and resulted in a fight along the rural road. The prosecution contended Hoyt was in a rage and attacked Winter. Hoyt testified it was Winter who was acting erratic and was the aggressor in the altercation. During the trial it was revealed Winter had a blood alcohol level of .20 percent.
Winter later collapsed and was rushed to the hospital where he died from his injuries.
On Thursday the District Attorney’s Office lodged the complaint against Hoyt, leaving open the possibility of him facing a new trial for the remaining charges. However, the move is largely procedural and is not indicative of a re-trial.
“A decision to retry him hasn’t been made as of yet,” said Deputy District Attorney Wendell Emerson, who prosecuted the case against Hoyt.
The jury’s deadlock over the involuntary manslaughter charge was 10 to 2 for acquittal, according to Hoyt’s defense attorney Frank Carson.
“The vote is causing them to re-evaluate the case in its entirety,” Carson said.
The two sides will return to court July 15, at which time a decision on the case is expected.
Hoyt also has a bail refund hearing on July 8 and a court date on June 3 for the civil suit lodged against him.
“I’ve been in court only for this, but for the last three years and I see nothing but court for the foreseeable future,” Hoyt said.
In the meantime, Hoyt is hopeful that life will return to some sort of normalcy.