A hearing is scheduled today for 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.
Indiana County President Judge William Martin will conduct the hearing. Cook’s attorney, Aaron Ludwig, filed the motion on November 2nd, 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. The district attorney is required to exercise due diligence, meaning everything possible within his power must be done to bring the case to trial, but the speedy trial “clock” can be delayed for a number of reasons, including continuances requested by the defense.
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.
The hearing today is scheduled for 10:30 AM.