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Road rage trial delayed, once again
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A Stanislaus County Superior Court judge has granted one more continuance for a Turlock man accused of beating to death a Hilmar man in a suspected incident of road rage.

Judge Ricardo Cordova granted the continuation to allow Michael Hoyt more time to raise the funds needed to retain his defense attorney Frank Carson for the trial. If Hoyt cannot raise the funds he will be appointed a public defender at his next hearing.

Hoyt is accused of second-degree murder for the death of 67-year-old Ken Winter on Feb. 1, 2010. The district attorney’s office contends Hoyt beat Winter to death because he was upset with how Winter was driving.

Hoyt is currently out on a $1 million bail.

Deputy District Wendell Emerson told the court that Winter’s family was very anxious to have the trial begin and were upset at the number of continuances.

Hoyt has been given four continuances for his arraignment since May, when the judge ruled at the conclusion of a preliminary hearing that there was enough cause to hold Hoyt over for trial.

“Nobody’s more anxious than we are to set this for trial,” said Carson, who has argued Hoyt was acting out of self-defense.

In granting the final continuance, Cordova said he understood the family’s frustration, but said that if Hoyt has to get a new attorney it will only delay the start of the trial even longer.

The judge ordered a new arraignment date for Sept. 26.

To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.