Indiana County President Judge William Martin has scheduled a hearing on a defense motion to dismiss the charges against 65-year-old Charles Cook, the drifter accused of killing 76-year-old Myrtle McGill in 1991.
Attorney Aaron Ludwig filed the motion on Friday, citing state law that demands a speedy trial. The law stipulates that the state must bring a criminal defendant to trial within 365 days of the charges being filed if the defendant is not in custody and within 180 days if the defendant is in custody. But the speedy trial “clock” can be delayed for a number of reasons, including continuances requested by the defense. The law requires the district attorney to do exercise due diligence, meaning everything possible within his power must be done to bring the case to trial.
Cook was a drifter who came to Indiana after busing across the state to avoid detention in a halfway house. He was identified as the suspect in 2007 based on DNA on a cigarette butt found in McGill’s car, which investigators say he stole and abandoned in Pittsburgh after the shooting. He was finally located in Minnesota in October of 2016 and extradited to Indiana the following March.
Yesterday, Judge Martin scheduled the hearing on Ludwig’s motion for November 19th at 10:30 AM, and moved Cook’s Criminal Call appearance to December 7th.