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Vermillion murder trial pushed back

Posted: April 16, 2014 - 10:23pm  |  Updated: April 16, 2014 - 10:29pm

The trial for the Cooper Landing man charged with murder has been pushed back at least two months with the defendant’s lawyer admitting it will need to be pushed beyond that date.

Paul Vermillion, 30 appeared telephonically for a hearing at the Kenai Courthouse Wednesday, the first time since he was released to a third-party custodian after his mother posted his $150,000 cash bail on Jan. 22.

Vermillion is charged with first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree murder and one count of manslaughter in the Dec. 5 death of of Genghis Muskox. His trial was scheduled to begin the week of May 1, but on Wednesday new defense attorney Andrew Lambert, who also appeared telephonically from Anchorage, asked for a continuance.

On March 5, Vermillion dismissed Shana Thieler and William Walton from the Office of Public Advocacy and hired Lambert, according to court records.

Lambert informed Superior Court Judge Charles Huguelet that he has met with his client’s former attorneys as well as public defender Josh Cooley, who first represented Vermillion. In addition to visiting Vermillion’s Cooper Landing residence where the alleged murder occurred, Lambert said he has listened to court recordings up to the last hearing and will continue to work diligently in his research on the case.

Lambert informed the court that he will be on vacation out of the country from June 10 to July 2 in Brazil, but said he would file between 35 to 40 motions before he left.

Huguelet said the furthest date he could schedule for trial was the week of July 7.

“That is not a realistic date,” Lambert said. “The discovery is still not produced.”

Kenai District Attorney Scot Leaders said he expected it would take Lambert some time to get caught up.

Huguelet set an omnibus hearing for July 7 and said another trial date could be set then.

Vermillion is staying with Gregory Thompson, his third party custodian, in Houston, Alaska.

According to the Alaska State Troopers affidavit, Vermillion called 911 and stated, “I killed somebody.” Vermillion and Muskox were drinking at Vermillion’s Cooper Landing residence when they got into a fight.

According to the affidavit, a trooper arrived at the scene and found Muskox dead with what appeared to be a gunshot wound to the head. After receiving his Miranda advisement, Vermillion, an Iraq war veteran said, “I was in a fight to the death and I executed the threat.”

Reach Dan Balmer at daniel.balmer@peninsulaclarion.com.

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