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Turlock road rage murder defendant gets more time to fund lawyers

Michael Hoyt booking mug released by the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department on Feb. 2, 2010.
Michael Hoyt booking mug released by the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department on Feb. 2, 2010.

A judge on Wednesday granted more time for a Turlock man charged with second-degree murder to find the money to retain his attorney for his pending trial.

Michael Joseph Hoyt is accused of beating Hilmar resident Ken Winter to death during a suspected road rage incident last year in Turlock.

In a May preliminary hearing, Judge Ricardo Córdova ruled there was sufficient evidence for a jury to decide whether Hoyt acted with implied malice when he repeatedly hit the 67-year-old Winter, who died from his injuries at a hospital.

Córdova has reduced Hoyt’s bail to $1 million, and Hoyt remains free on bail.

The bail amount, however, has made it difficult for Hoyt to retain his defense attorney, Frank Carson, for the trial. Carson asked the judge for more time, and he said Hoyt should be able to retain his services for the trial by late next month.

If not, the court can then assign a public defender to represent Hoyt in his trial, Carson said.

Deputy District Attorney Wendell Emerson, who is prosecuting Hoyt’s case, argued that Winter’s family is displeased with the delays that have prevented the court from scheduling a start date for the trial.

Córdova granted Carson’s request for more time and scheduled Hoyt to appear in court for another pretrial hearing to settle the matter Sept. 26.

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