Convicted murderer George Wesley Hamilton could be granted a new trial depending on the outcome of an evidentiary hearing scheduled for Thursday in 4th District Court.
Hamilton, convicted a year ago in the Aug. 1, 1985, mutilation murder of 19-year-old Sharon Sant of Fillmore, is serving five years to life in the Utah State Prison. His trial was moved from Millard County to Utah County following a change of venue request by defense attorneys.The Utah Supreme Court in June ordered 4th District Judge George E. Ballif to determine whether Hamilton deserves a new trial on grounds of alleged jury misconduct.
In March, Ballif quashed a motion for a new trial on grounds that the Supreme Court had jurisdiction over the case because that is where Hamilton had filed an appeal of his conviction. The Supreme Court, however, ordered 4th District Court to hold a hearing once the Utah attorney general's office agreed to a defense motion for the hearing.
The motion for a new trial followed allegations in December that a juror brought a newspaper clipping about the trial into the jury room. The clipping reportedly was not shown to other jurors.
Millard County spent about $200,000 on Hamilton's first trial, $105,000 of which went for his defense.
Cost of a new trial would be less, however, because evidence gathered and detective work needed for the first trial would not have to be duplicated.