Arraignment delayed in Turlock road rage death

February 3, 2010 

A Turlock man accused of murder after a road rage incident Monday appeared in court Wednesday afternoon. An arraignment for Michael Joseph Hoyt, 49, was delayed until next week while he hired his own attorney.

A bespectacled Hoyt, wearing a red and white inmate jumpsuit and shackles, answered two questions from Judge Ricardo Córdova. He was represented by the Stanislaus County public de- fender's office Wednesday.

Hoyt answered "Yes" to confirm his legal name and said, "Yes, Your Honor," when Córdova asked if he wanted to waive his right to a speedy trial in order to delay his arraignment.

Hoyt did not enter a plea.

He is charged in the death of Ken Winter, a 67-year-old retired sheet metal worker from Hilmar.

According to the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department, Hoyt was driving along Paulson Road southeast of Turlock when Winter turned onto Paulson from Linwood Avenue.

Hoyt believed Winter did not stop his truck at the stop sign on Linwood, and pulled in front of Winter, cutting him off, Winter's family said.

A fight ensued. Hoyt, who was with his girlfriend, left the scene. Winter tried to drive away, but lost consciousness. A witness called 911; paramedics took Winter to Emanuel Medical Center in Turlock, where he died early Tuesday.

Sheriff's Detective Darwin Hatfield said Wednesday he did not yet have results from an autopsy performed Tuesday. He anticipated it will take four to six weeks for toxicology reports to come back and a formal finding made.

Córdova set bail at $2 million. Hoyt was booked on $500,000 bail on an assault charge, and the charge was raised to murder after Winter died. The judge also continued the arraignment until 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.

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