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New trial ordered for alleged road rage case
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A Stanislaus County judge has ruled that a Turlock man previously acquitted of murder in the death of a 67-year-old Denair man will have to face a new trial for involuntary manslaughter.

On Monday, Judge Ricardo Cordova ordered a second trial on the charges of involuntary manslaughter and assault likely to inflict great bodily injury be put into motion for Michael Hoyt, 53, for the death of Kenneth Winter on Feb. 1, 2010.

Hoyt was accused of beating Winter to death after the two men were involved in a traffic incident on Paulson Road. The altercation came to an end and both men went their separate ways. Less than 30 minutes later Winter collapsed outside his sheet metal shop in Turlock and was taken to Emanuel Medical Center, where he later died from a ruptured spleen.

The Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office put forth the theory that Hoyt was in a state of rage and savagely attacked Winter. The defense claimed Winter was intoxicated and was the aggressor in the confrontation and that Hoyt was defending himself.

In May, Hoyt was acquitted of second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter charges. The jury was unable to come to a unanimous verdict on the lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter. The vote was split 10 for acquittal and two for guilty.

“I think the judge’s ruling for a new trial was as it should have been,” said Jeniffer Winter, the daughter of Kenneth Winter.

Monday’s ruling to hold another trial came over the strong objections of Hoyt’s defense attorney Frank Carson, who argued too much time had passed for the new charges to be filed.

Carson argued Hoyt should not be forced to stand trial again because he was acquitted on the murder charge and the statute of limitations negated any new proceedings. Carson stated that because Hoyt would not be facing more than eight years in prison, the three year statute of limitations is in effect.

Carson argued that Hoyt was never charged with involuntary manslaughter or assault.

The Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office stated the statute of limitations doesn’t apply because the charges are part of the original proceedings.

After Cordova’s ruling that a new trial was in order, Carson told the court Hoyt was not prepared to enter a plea to the charges and if he wasn’t going to get a new preliminary hearing, Carson would be submitting a demurrer, which would seek to have the case dropped.

Cordova set a new arraignment date for Oct. 28. At that point Hoyt will have to decide if he can continue to retain Carson’s legal services at his own expense or if the court will appoint Carson to continue his representation.

Hoyt said a plea deal is not inconsideration.

“I intend to fight this all the way,” Hoyt said. “Nothing short of complete vindication will suffice.”