OGDEN -- A murder defendant has a new problem to deal with, a charge of witness tampering not even related to his own case.
Robert McCullar, 50, is charged with murder and felony possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person in the Dec. 22, 2009, stabbing death of Filiberto Robles Bedolla, 49, at 2560 Adams Ave. McCullar has been in Weber County Jail since he was charged in February of last year.
According to court documents, McCullar, who is black, became upset and slashed Bedolla's throat during an argument in which Bedolla used a racial slur and spit in his face. Trial on the murder charge is set for July before 2nd District Judge W. Brent West.
On Wednesday, a preliminary hearing on the witness-tampering charge, a third-degree felony, was continued to Feb. 23 before West.
In that charge, filed two weeks ago, it is alleged that McCullar on Nov. 6, 2010, called a victim of an assault on behalf of the suspect.
McCullar was in jail at the time he made the call for fellow prisoner Raymond Gutierrez.
McCullar suggested the female victim stop cooperating in Gutierrez' prosecution, said Weber County Attorney Dee Smith, who filed the charge.
"It was not necessarily a threat," he said. "I would say it was more encouragement not to attend her court hearings."
The woman attended anyway. A month after the alleged witness tampering, court records show Gutierrez was sentenced to prison on the third-degree felony assault charges for up to five years.
In the murder case, key evidence against McCullar is taped conversations with an informant in which he makes admissions to the killing, describing slashing Bedolla's throat with a piece of glass.
Bedolla suffered a total of 14 stab wounds, according to medical testimony at McCullar's preliminary hearing last April.