A Calaveras County Superior Court judge postponed scheduling a trial date for an Avery man accused of murdering his son so a Deputy Calaveras County District Attorney could have more time to review expert witness reports submitted by the defense.
David Bilderback, the defendant, appeared in court wearing a gray and white striped prison jumpsuit, and had shackles on his ankles and wrists. He expressed no reaction to Calaveras County District Attorney Brad Jones proposing the extension.
“I think both sides can benefit from another trial setting,” Jones said to Judge Timothy Healy.
Bilderback is charged with first-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, assault with a firearm and negligent discharge of a firearm.
David Bilderback’s son, Cole Bilderback, 19, was found dead with a gunshot wound to the chest at Dave’s Pit Stop Auto Shop, an Avery business owned by David Bilderback, on Sept. 28, 2017.
The next trial setting conference will be held at 8:30 a.m. Jan. 25 in Department 1 of the Calaveras County Superior Court.
Bilderback’s public defender, Leigh Fleming, said the expert report was related to a crime scene investigator’s analysis of where the shooting occured and of other evidence.
The investigator “looked at how it was handled and if the investigation was done properly,” she said.
Jones said his office needed to review the new report and contact the victim’s family members if the information altered the District Attorney’s Office’s case strategy.
“It may make a difference in how the prosecution views this case,” he said.
Jan LeMay of Timberline Forensics, based in Colorado, was hired by the defense at a cost of $1,500, according to court documents. Jan LeMay is identified on the Timberline Forensics website as a latent print examiner and footwear examiner through the International Association for Identification.
The defense has also hired Jeffrey Zehnder from Drug Detection Laboratories, based in Sacramento, at a cost of $5,000, and Forensic Psychological Consultants of Northern California at a cost not to exceed $5,000.
Evidence in the case includes clothing and four CDs worth of interviews collected from David Bilderback’s family members Trina Stricklin, Mike Stricklin and Linda Bilderback, gunshot residue tests of their bodies, a .22 caliber revolver, six .22 caliber rounds, a leather holster, a Smith & Wesson .38 special revolver with a bone handle, three check stubs, and digital media of Meadowview Drive in Avery, according to a court evidence release document.
A Dell laptop, a Toshiba laptop, a black Samsung cell phone, three tablet computers and a pink-and-green Samsung cell phone were also included, but were returned to their owners.
Data from each of the devices was included on the exhibit list but not returned to the owners.
No mention was made in public court related to a plea agreement, which was alluded to during Bilderback’s previous hearing.
Fleming said after the hearing that negotiations with the Calaveras County District Attorney’s office were ongoing and there were no new developments. On Oct. 15, Fleming said she and Jones “discussed possible resolutions” in the case.
If a deal can not be reached, a trial would likely be scheduled in March or April and would last seven to 10 days.
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.
Bilderback has been in the custody of the Calaveras County Jail since his arrest with a bail of $3 million.
The hearing on Friday was the fifth time a trial setting was postponed since Bilderback’s second scheduled trial date of June 6 was vacated.
Bilderback was first assigned a trial date of Jan. 10, which was vacated after his previous lawyer, Steven Krinsky, left the public defender’s office.
Bilderback was described as unhinged and erratic at a family member’s home after the shooting, Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office deputies said during his preliminary hearing on Oct. 17. They also testified that 12 firearms were discovered in Dave’s Auto Shop Pit Stop and in Bilderback’s green Toyota truck, which was parked with open doors in front of the business on the night of the murder.
The June 6 trial date was vacated on May 17 due to a psychological evaluation, but the document has not been mentioned again in court.
There are 28 witnesses included on a list filed by the District Attorney’s Office on May 2. The list includes 11 deputies from the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office, a pathologist, a criminalist, two toxicologists, a juvenile and at least one relative of Bilderback.