By CRAIG FREILICH
CANTON -- At least one more court session will be held before a date is set to begin the trial of accused killer Oral Nicholas “Nick” Hillary.
Hillary, a former college soccer coach, is accused in the death of 12-year-old Garrett Phillips, a Potsdam middle school student, in October 2011.
Hillary's attorneys and representatives of the county District Attorney's Office will appear before St. Lawrence County Court Judge Jerome Richards to get a reading on the readiness of both sides to proceed to trial and on any more motions before trial.
That session is set for Sept. 16 in Canton.
Garrett Philips was found unconscious and alone late in the afternoon of Oct. 24, 2011 in the Market Street apartment he shared with his mother. Police had been called by neighbors who said they had heard a crash and moaning from the apartment. The boy was taken to Canton-Potsdam Hospital but could not be saved.
An exhaustive investigation was begun by Potsdam police with help from several other police agencies, including the state police lab. Hillary was named early in the investigation by Potsdam police as a person of interest, the only person so identified.
But the case seemed to stall until Hillary's arrest two-and-a-half years later on a charge of murder.
After an indictment from a grand jury, Hillary was arrested on Thursday, May 15, and was held in the county jail on $75,000 cash bail or $150,000 bail bond. Hillary was freed after posting bail July 25.
Hillary, a native of the Caribbean island nation of Jamaica, a graduate of St. Lawrence University, and former soccer coach at Clarkson University, was charged with second-degree murder in the death of the popular Potsdam middle school student.
Between the time of his arrest and his release on bail two months later, there had been disagreement over the value of property that was proposed to be posted for bail before the matter was resolved in July.