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Judge presses to keep slaying trial on track despite scheduling conflicts

November 15, 2011|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — The trial for a man accused of killing a police informant remains on track for March 2012, but scheduling conflicts for consultants expected to testify could delay the proceedings.

Jeffrey E. Miles Sr., 48, formerly of State Line, Pa., is charged with criminal homicide in the April 2010 stabbing death of Hagerstown resident Kristy Dawn Hoke. He appeared in court Tuesday via videoconference.

Judge Douglas Herman of the Franklin County (Pa.) Court of Common Pleas said he wants to keep March 19, 2012, as the start date for Miles’ trial. However, prosecuting and defense attorneys both said they require experts to prepare reports and testify.

Public Defender Mike Toms said mitigation specialists — who bolster a client’s defense by identifying things such as medical conditions and family background — said they’re not available for trial for at least eight months to a year.

“I think before we take this off the schedule because of this issue, I’d like to do as much as we can,” Herman said.

Herman said he planned to contact an Adams County, Pa., judge who is presiding over a case with mitigation specialists.

A mitigation specialist will be hired because the Franklin County District Attorney’s Office is seeking the death penalty, claiming Miles tortured Hoke, allegedly a confidential informant, when he allegedly killed her.

Other potential experts include a forensic pathologist, a doctor who can testify about torture and a jury consultant.

Hoke’s body was found in a wooded portion of the Borough of Waynesboro on April 6, 2010. According to court testimony, police believe someone fatally stabbed the 29-year-old mother of three with scissors.

Pennsylvania State Police found the skeletal remains of a missing teenager on a southern Franklin County farm that same day in 2010.

No one has been charged in the homicide of Angie Lynn Daley, who was 17 when reported missing by her family in 1995.

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