Hankins hearing continued

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— Michael O'Hara, 14th Judicial District chief judge, ordered police and coroner notes from an Aug. 30 autopsy of a murdered Craig woman be preserved for possible review by defense counsel.

The order, issued Wednesday afternoon in Moffat County District Court, came at the request of public defender Sheryl Uhlmann, who is representing Terry Hankins, a 70-year-old gold miner who stands accused of murdering his wife, Cynthia Hankins, of Craig.

He faces nine total charges: first-degree murder, three counts of theft, possession of a controlled substance, three counts of felony forgery and abuse of a corpse. He appeared via teleconference Wednesday with his attorney.

Prosecutors Kerry St. James and Brett Barkey opposed the motion. However, Judge O'Hara said "it does not seem to be a burden to order law enforcement to preserve their notes."

The order was one of several topics covered during the status conference, which was continued until next month.

The judge also issued an order to law enforcement to preserve all evidence, not release any evidence seized and not to test evidence without notifying the defense.

O'Hara denied a defense motion to preserve Hankins' fundamental constitutional rights, a request that confounded the judge.

"I don't know what that's asking me to do," he said, acknowledging that Hankins has constitutional rights. "I don't know what I can say to you besides that."

Hankins also waived his right to have a preliminary hearing within 30 days of the Wednesday hearing. Uhlmann said she wanted time to decipher more than 2,100 pages of reports and recordings before moving forward.

Hankins told the judge he agreed with his attorney.

"I think everybody needs to adjust to all of this material," he said.

The criminal complaint against Hankins alleges he:

• Murdered his wife on or about June 3 or 4 in Moffat County, and disposed of the body about the same time.

• Stole and forged more than $20,000 in checks, including one belonging to his wife, between July 1 and 31.

• Possessed between 25 to 450 milligrams of the controlled substance, oxycodone, a painkiller, on or about Aug. 23.

Hankins is in custody at the Moffat County Jail, where he's been held since the Craig Police Department arrested him in late August.

He is scheduled to next appear in court at 11 a.m. Oct. 23.

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