A trial setting conference for an Avery man accused of murdering his son was postponed for the third time in four weeks Friday morning at the Calaveras County Superior Court as his defense prepares to hire an expert witness.

David Bilderback, 47, smiled and shuffled to his seat next to his defense attorney, Tony Salazar, clutching a manila folder. The two briefly conferred before the hearing started, but Bilderback’s lead defense attorney, Leigh Fleming, was absent.

Deputy District Attorney Brad Jones told Judge Timothy Healy that the public defender’s office wanted money an expert, whose investigation could lead to “possible outcomes for this case.”

A Dec. 4 motion indicated that the defense wanted to hire a gunshot trajectory expert.

Jones also said the defense would likely submit an ex-parte motion, or a temporary court order, in conjunction with a new trial setting conference date set for 8:30 a.m. March 16.

Bilderback was originally scheduled for a Jan. 10 jury trial, but the departure of his lawyer, Steven Krinksy, from the public defender’s office spurred multiple postponements.

An initial trial setting conference was scheduled for Jan. 12, but the hearing was postponed on Jan. 26 and again today.

Bilderback is charged with first-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, assault with a firearm and negligent discharge of a firearm. His son, Cole, 19, was found dead from a gunshot wound on Sept. 28 at his father’s business, Dave’s Pit Stop Auto Shop in Avery.

Bilderback is additionally charged with five special allegation enhancements for intentionally discharging a firearm causing death on the murder charge, the personal use of a firearm on the voluntary manslaughter charge, the personal use of a firearm and causing a great bodily injury on the assault with a firearm charge and causing great bodily injury on the negligent use of a firearm charge.

Bilderback was arrested in the early morning on Sept. 28.

During an Oct. 16 preliminary hearing, Calaveras County Sheriff’s deputies recounted how they entered the business and discovered Cole Bilderback dead on the floor with a shotgun wound to the chest. During an autopsy, a bullet fragment was discovered in his chest and a wad was found in his right arm.

A pump-action 12-gauge shotgun was also found in Bilderback’s vehicle with spent cases in the chamber as well as seven additional rounds in the gun. An additional 11 firearms were discovered in the business and in David Bilderback’s truck, which had been parked haphazardly in front of the business.

Additional family and deputy testimony described Bilderback as manic and unpredictable following the incident, and some claimed he made multiple incriminating statements linking him to the murder.

Bilderback has been held in the Calaveras County Jail since his arrest. His bail was raised to $3 million from $2 million following the addition of the first violent felony enhancement.

Contact Giuseppe Ricapito at (209) 588-4526 or gricapito@uniondemocrat.com . Follow him on Twitter @gsepinsonora.