Miles' murder trial rescheduled for February 2013

March 09, 2012|By JENNIFER FITCH |
  • Kristy Dawn Hoke
Submitted photo

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — A Franklin County, Pa., judge on Friday rescheduled the murder trial of Jeffrey Miles Sr., but did not assign a new judge or defense team as requested by the defendant.

Miles, 48, of State Line, Pa., is charged with criminal homicide in the death of police confidential informant Kristy Dawn Hoke, whose body was found in a wooded area in the Borough of Waynesboro in April 2010.

Prosecutors, who have said Hoke was stabbed with a pair of scissors, are seeking the death penalty.

Friday’s hearing was scheduled to address several pending motions, some of which were filed by Miles as he fights the criminal homicide charge.

Miles showed a range of emotion in the hour-long hearing in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas. He raised his voice in apparent frustration and talked over the judge, then, 15 minutes later, chuckled and smiled at something defense attorney Eric Weisbrod said to him.

Miles accused President Judge Douglas Herman of holding secret meetings with prosecutors and other misconduct. Later, he offered up well wishes to the judge as he exited the courtroom.

Herman has delayed Miles’ trial until February 2013, and is setting aside three weeks for the proceedings. He also ruled on Miles’ requests seeking a new judge and changes to his defense team.

Miles is represented by Weisbrod, a Waynesboro-based attorney, and Public Defender Mike Toms. He clashes with Toms and said he is bothered by the man’s “mere existence.”

“I’m tired of your voice,” he said to Toms on Friday.

Miles accused Toms of not updating him on his case and not answering definitively when asked questions by the judge. For his part, Toms said Miles abruptly ended their last meeting.

“This is my life,” Miles said. “If they want to seek a life sentence or the death penalty, I want more” from my lawyers.

Miles’ disdain did not extend to Weisbrod, whom he called well qualified. He praised Weisbrod’s response to one of the judge’s questions.

“I like what he said. If I could get any closer to him, I would,” Miles said, inching his chair toward Weisbrod’s.

Herman, who said he was not given specific examples of Toms’ failings, chose to assign Weisbrod lead counsel on the case and named Toms as an assistant.

“I object, I object,” Miles said.

Miles said he intended to appeal the judge’s decision that Toms remain on the defense team. Saying that he and Toms are not on the same team, he called the public defender a “water boy” and said he wanted to fire him.

On Jan. 23, Herman made a comment in court about attorneys not baby-sitting Miles. The defendant said he perceived that the judge thinks of him as a baby and is biased.

“It was a poor choice of words. It had no personal connotation,” Herman said.

Herman asserted he never met with prosecutors without defense attorneys present.

When the judge was deciding whether to remain on the case, Miles said he had information about “shady sentences” involving Herman in the 1980s.

“If I had to use that (information), I’d use that,” he said.

Police unearthed skeletal remains on a nearby farm on the same day they found Hoke’s body. Dental records identified those remains as Angie Lynn Daley, who was 17 when last seen by her family in 1995. No one has been charged in her beating death.

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