OGDEN -- Skeptical prosecutors want a hearing on claimed new defense evidence pointing to a possible suspect other than Robert McCullar in a 2009 murder.
Last July, a jury found McCullar, 51, guilty after a weeklong trial in the Dec. 22, 2009, stabbing death of Filiberto Robles Bedolla, 49, in Bedolla's apartment at 2560 Adams Ave.
McCullar is serving a prison term of 15 years to life.
Weber County's appellate public defender, Randy Richards, has filed a motion for a new trial.
The motion says the jury should have heard evidence regarding a woman named Donna Finch and her alleged ties to the death.
At a May 31 hearing on the motion, Richards said the defense had located Donna Finch's car in Las Vegas and that the vehicle had blood inside.
Prosecutors have asked for a hearing to examine that claim.
"We want to have the evidence put before the court. That's all I can say," said Weber County Attorney Dee Smith.
In the motion asking 2nd District Judge W. Brent West to schedule an evidentiary hearing, prosecutors say "defendant's counsel did not and has not provided any affidavits or evidence" in support of the claimed new evidence.
The motion goes on to say Richards' claim is "inaccurate. The Defendant does not have newly discovered evidence."
But Richards said, "I don't know what they mean by that. No, I don't have it in my hot little hands that there is DNA evidence in Donna Finch's car connected to the victim."
Richards has asked West to approve funds to allow the public defender's investigator to go to Las Vegas to secure and examine the car.
The funding decision is likely contingent on West's granting the motion for a new trial, Richards said.
The investigator has not seen the car, he said, but has confirmed its vehicle identification number in the possession of a new owner in Las Vegas.
"I don't know how long it's been there. I just know that it's been located," Richards said.
Tainting of the evidence may be a concern, he said, but blood DNA can remain intact long enough to be valid in McCullar's appeal.
During McCullar's trial, Donna Finch was rarely mentioned. West denied McCullar's trial attorney the chance to include testimony of Finch's violent attack of a man in a disagreement over money, ruling it irrelevant.
Police said Finch was an early suspect in Bedolla's murder but was eliminated after further investigation.
McCullar's conviction was bolstered by a video and audiotaped confession of him bragging about the killing to his girlfriend. He told her he was provoked when Bedolla spit on him and used a racial slur in a dispute over a cigarette.