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Hilton indicted for murder of hiker Meredith Emerson

Plea could come at 1 p.m. court appearance

POSTED: February 11, 2008 5:02 a.m.
JOHN BAZEMORE/The Associated Press

Gary Michael Hilton is escorted from the Dawson County Courthouse after pleading guilty to killing hiker Meredith Emerson.

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Suspected serial killer Gary Michael Hilton was indicted on a single count of murder in a specially called session of the Dawson County grand jury this morning, a procedural step further indicating a guilty plea in the case could be imminent.

Hilton, 61, is scheduled to appear before Superior Court Judge Bonnie Chessher Oliver at 1 p.m. today. Law enforcement officials have said they were told Hilton would plead guilty in exchange for a life sentence.

The guilty plea, if entered, would come less than a month after Hilton was arrested and charged in the death of 24-year-old hiker Meredith Emerson, who was abducted from the Byron Herbert Reece Memorial Trailhead on Jan. 1. Authorities believe she was killed by blunt force trauma to the head on Jan. 4 in the Dawson Forest Wildlife Management Area.

Hilton led authorities to her decapitated body on Jan. 7, after prosecutors from Union County and the U.S. Attorney's office agreed not to seek the death penalty against him.
Hilton remains a suspect in murders in North Carolina and Florida but has not been charged in either case.


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