Preparations begin for 2018 murder trial

ALAMOSA — Attorneys are working their way through legal motions and logistics for the February trial for Perry Hotz, 21, charged with the October 2016 death of his 5 1/2-month-old daughter.

His trial is scheduled to begin on February 12, 2018.

Attorneys have agreed not to use the term “shaken baby” or “shaken baby impact” in the case, Hotz’s attorney Amiel Markenson told District Judge Michael Gonzales during a status hearing on Tuesday. Witnesses will not use those terms in relation to the case, he said, and he asked the judge to grant a motion to that effect, which he did.

Markenson said witnesses could testify about retinal hemorrhaging but not associate it with “shaken baby.”

“Our position is this is not a shaken baby case,” Assistant District Attorney Ashley McCuaig told the judge. He said the only way the term would come up would be if the defense brought it up.

Hotz told authorities that his daughter fell from a bouncy chair on October 8, 2016. She succumbed from her injuries on October 11, 2016. Defense expert witnesses will testify that this was a tragic accident, and witnesses for the prosecution will support the charge that Hotz caused the injuries that killed his child.

Attorneys have worked together to schedule their experts, with the DA’s office allowing the defense to go out of order in scheduling one of their experts on February 21-22, if the prosecution is not finished with its witnesses by then, Markenson told the judge.

Judge Gonzales thanked the attorneys for working together on the scheduling issues.

Some motions remain, and the judge scheduled a motion hearing for January 12. The judge said he would also let the attorneys know his decision on the defense’s request to use jury questionnaires. Judge Gonzales said he was not inclined to allow them but would consider the attorney’s motion.

Markenson said attorneys are still firming up their witness lists as well. The judge said he understood there was some fluidity with that.

Judge Gonzales set some deadlines for responses to motions and filings with the court and scheduled a short motion hearing for January 12.

Hotz remains in custody.