OGDEN -- A judge is reviewing a request from an attorney for convicted killer Robert McCullar to allocate funds to test a car in Las Vegas for possible blood evidence as part of a bid for a new trial.
Second District Judge W. Brent West said, following an hour-long motion hearing Monday, that he will take the request from defense attorney Randy Richards under advisement and will issue a ruling at a future, unspecified date.
McCullar, 51, was found guilty by a jury in July 2011 of stabbing to death Filiberto Robles Bedolla, 49, on Dec. 22, 2009, in Bedolla's apartment at 2560 Adams Ave. He is now serving 15 years to life in the Utah State Prison.
The confrontation began when Bedolla took McCullar's cigarette after McCullar left it burning on a newspaper rack at a convenience store. He had planned a quick stop in the store, then expected to resume smoking the cigarette, a common practice in the area, according to testimony.
But Bedolla got it first and a brief argument ensued, with Bedolla using a racial slur and spitting on McCullar.
McCullar then followed Bedolla stealthily for an hour or more, and stabbed him 14 times inside his nearby apartment.
Richards said he is seeking less than $1,000 to test the seats of a vehicle in Las Vegas for Bedolla's blood.
"If the car seat has the victim's blood, it calls into question whether McCullar did the crime," Richards told West.
The car is owned by an individual unrelated to McCullar's case and belonged to the police's first suspect in the murder, an Ogden woman, Richards said.
The evidence against McCullar included his own taped confession to the killing recorded by his girlfriend at the time, Donna Major. He said he was angered at Bedolla spitting on him and using a racial slur during an argument over the cigarette.
Weber County Attorney Dee Smith told West on Monday that defense attorneys have been aware of the existence of the car but didn't attempt to test it for evidence during McCullar's trial. The woman was cleared by police as a suspect.
Smith also said there isn't probable cause to force the car's current owner to turn over the vehicle for testing.
However, Richards said he's confident the owner would voluntarily allow the vehicle to be examined.
"Most citizens would do that," he said.