Prosecutors plan to introduce confession |

Prosecutors plan to introduce confession

Preliminary hearing set in murder case

Joshua Roberts

— Prosecutor Kerry St. James told a Moffat County District Court judge Tuesday that he intends to introduce into evidence a confession allegedly given by a man who is accused of murdering his wife.

Terry Hankins is being held in Moffat County Jail on suspicion of killing his wife, Cynthia Hankins, of Craig.

He faces nine total charges: first-degree murder, three counts of theft and three counts of felony forgery, possession of a controlled substance and abuse of a corpse.

Hankins, wearing handcuffs and white and gray striped prison garb, appeared in Moffat County District Court for a status conference. He has been in custody since August and is being held without bond.

St. James, Assistant District Attorney for the 14th Judicial District Attorney’s Office in Steamboat Springs, is handling the Hankins prosecution with Moffat County Chief Deputy District Attorney Brett Barkey.

St. James also said Hankins provided authorities with directions to his wife’s body, which was found buried on Hankins’ gold claim located three miles south of the Wyoming border, in Moffat County.

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Hankins’ attorney, public defender Sheryl Uhlmann, said she intends to dispute the alleged confession because the defendant did not have an attorney present.

Neither St. James nor Uhlmann would comment on the case or the alleged confession following Tuesday’s hearing.

Michael O’Hara, 14th Judicial District chief judge, scheduled the case for a Jan. 15 preliminary hearing. The preliminary hearing, or an evidentiary hearing, was scheduled for one day, but O’Hara said the hearing could be extended if needed.

Uhlmann said she could need two or three days for the hearing to question witnesses and argue roughly 4,000 pages of discovery and other evidentiary materials.

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. It also alleges he took and forged more than $20,000 in checks, including one belonging to his wife, between July 1 and 31.

In other news:

Arson probe

A Craig Police Department investigation into the Country Mall fire is ongoing, Craig Police Chief Walt Vanatta reported.

The Country Mall, which housed 12 businesses, was destroyed Nov. 25. Firefighters, fire investigators and police officers have determined the fire was caused by arson.

Vanatta said there are no suspects. Police are conducting interviews with building occupants, owners and others.

“There’s a lot of people to talk to,” he said. “We’re in the early stages.”


Police are asking for the public’s help in finding suspects behind 17 vandalisms that have occurred since Sunday night.

Vanatta said cars and homes have had windows damaged by what is believed to be a BB gun. The vandalisms have happened all over town, the police chief said.

Anyone with information is to call the Police Department at 826-2360.