Hankins held without bond

— A 70-year-old Craig man accused of murdering his wife and burying her near a gold mine north of Craig will be held without bond for at least another few weeks.

Terry Hankins, who was arrested by the Craig Police Department on Friday, appeared via video Monday in Moffat County Court during his advisement.

Public defender Sheryl Uhlmann represented Hankins during the hearing. Assistant District Attorney Kerry St. James and Deputy District Attorney Brett Barkey are prosecuting the case. Fourteenth Judicial District Attorney Bonnie Roesink also was present during the hearing.

Uhlmann and St. James agreed it was too early in the case to set bond, which Hankins is ineligible for until a future hearing.

Chief Judge Michael O'Hara scheduled Hankins to appear in court at 1 p.m. Sept. 12 for a status conference. A subsequent bond and preliminary likely will be scheduled during that hearing.

Hankins was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder, abusing a corpse, tampering with evidence, theft, forgery and possessing more than one gram of a controlled substance.

Hankins was arrested the day before law enforcement officers uncovered the body of his wife, 36-year-old Cynthia Hankins/Runnels, about 33 miles north of Craig on a parcel of land Hankins lives and operates on. Hankins/Runnels had been missing since June 3. Police suspect Hankins/Runnels was slain in Craig and that her body was buried at the site. Though officials had searched the area once, they were unable to locate the body until Saturday.

If convicted of the first-degree murder charge, Hankins could face up to life in prison or death.

On the less severe charges, which range from a Class 3 felony to a Class 2 misdemeanor, Hankins could face from one year in prison to 24 years and up to $500,000 in fines.

Hankins waived his right to have a preliminary hearing within 30 days. He did not address the court except to say, "Yes, I do understand," when O'Hara read Hankins his rights.

Also during the hearing, O'Hara agreed to keep Hankins' court files, which include details about several search and arrest warrants, sealed to minimize "pre-trial publicity."

Both Uhlmann and St. James expressed concern about Hankins receiving a fair trial if the documents were to become public.

"My hope and desire is (Hankins) receive a fair trial in our community," St James said during the hearing. "The revelation of that information may infringe on that right."

O'Hara said he was not inclined to put a gag order in place yet. A gag order is intended to limit what is made public during a criminal trial and usually involves participants in the case.

There were no other persons present during the 30-minute long hearing.

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