Gerald Walker Hicker

A man police say killed his girlfriend while both were students at Brigham Young University 33-years ago made a brief appearance in 3rd District Court Friday.

Gerald Walter Hicker, 58, was charged in November with first-degree felony murder in the 1974 shooting death of Barbara Rocky. She was shot five times and her body dumped under brush off the main road of Big Cottonwood Canyon.

Hicker was always considered a suspect in the investigation, but detectives never had enough evidence to directly link him to the crime. The cold case was reopened a little over seven years ago, however, and a murder charge was filed thanks to advances in DNA technology.

Friday, an unkempt looking Hicker was lead into 3rd District Judge Deno Himonas' courtroom, wearing a blue inmate jump suit while holding his handcuffed hands up near his chest. He said nothing during his brief appearance.

The Legal Defenders Office notified the judge that it had to remove itself from the case because of a conflict of interest. One of the detectives who worked on the original homicide investigation is now working in the LDA's office.

Attorney Scott Sanders was going to take over the case and needed some time to review it, according to the defense. Another hearing is scheduled for Feb. 8.

Hicker remains in the Salt Lake County Jail with bail set at $1 million.

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