A trial-setting conference for an Avery man accused of murdering his son was postponed Monday until Oct. 15 pending further investigation by forensics and drug-detection experts for the defense.
David Bilderback, who has been in the custody of the Calaveras County Jail since the Sept. 28, 2017, murder of his son, Cole Bilderback, 19, emerged from jail holding in a gray-and-white prison uniform Monday morning.
Bilderback scanned the crowd before shuffling to his seat and sat alone while his attorney, Leigh Fleming, privately conferenced with Deputy District Attorney Brad Jones and Judge Timothy Healy at the bench.
Healy was seen explaining and gesturing to the attorneys and, after about five minutes, explained that another postponement to Bilderback’s expected trial would be due to “timing.”
“There’s something in discovery the defense is still waiting on,” he said. “That’s going to take some time in this particular case.”
According to court documents, Jan LeMay of Timberline Forensics, based in Colorado, was hired at a cost of $1,500 on behalf of the defense. Jan LeMay is identified on the Timberline Forensics website as a latent print examiner and footwear examiner through the International Association for Identification.
Additionally, the defense hired Jeffrey Zehnder from Drug Detection Laboratories, based in Sacramento, at a cost of $5,000.
The most recent postponement follows many months of defense motions requesting additional time to pursue their own investigation into the nature of the case and Bilderback’s role in the murder.
Bilderback was first assigned a trial date of Jan. 10, which was vacated due to the departure of his lawyer, Steven Krinsky, from the public defender’s office. After the appointment of Leigh Fleming of the Calaveras County Public Defender’s Office, a June 6 trial date was vacated pending a psychological evaluation of Bilderback.
According to a court order on June 25, discovery was described as “ongoing” with no mention of the psychological review.
Bilderback was arrested in the early morning on Sept. 28, 2017, after his son was found dead from shotgun wound to the chest at his business, Dave’s Pit Stop Auto Shop, in Avery.
During the preliminary hearing, Calaveras County Sheriff’s deputies testified that 12 firearms were discovered in the business and in David Bilderback’s green Toyota truck, which had been parked haphazardly in front of the business.
The deputies testified that David Bilderback had appeared unhinged and erratic at a family member’s home after the shooting and made multiple incriminating statements linking him to the murder.
Bilderback’s bail was raised to $3 million from $2 million following the addition of a violent felony enhancement prior to the preliminary hearing.
Bilderback is charged with first-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, assault with a firearm and negligent discharge of a firearm.
Bilderback is also 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 great bodily injury on the assault with a firearm charge, and causing great bodily injury on the negligent use of a firearm charge.
According to a witness list filed by the District Attorney’s Office on May 2, 11 deputies from the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office could be called to testify during a trial. The list also includes a pathologist, a criminalist, two toxicologists, a juvenile and at least one relative of Bilderback.
Contact Giuseppe Ricapito at (209) 588-4526 or firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow him on Twitter @gsepinsonora.