OGDEN -- Battle lines have softened somewhat in the coming motion fight through which the defense hopes to turn Robert McCullar's murder trial into a whodunit.
McCullar, 50, is charged 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 2010.
According to charging documents, McCullar, who is black, slashed Bedolla's throat during an argument in which Bedolla used a racial slur and spit in his face. Bedolla suffered a total of 14 stab wounds, according to medical testimony at McCullar's preliminary hearing in April 2010.
In a rare stance for any defense attorney, McCullar's public defender, Jim Retallick, is saying his client is innocent and simply didn't do it.
To that end, he filed subpoenas for all jail records for five current and former Weber County Jail inmates, including tapings of their phone calls.
The jail has refused to comply, and on March 30 prosecutors filed a motion to quash all the subpoenas.
The five current and former inmates were all expected to testify at McCullar's trial in July. On Tuesday in a motion hearing, Retallick argued briefly that some were also "potential alternate suspects."
But Retallick's full hand wasn't played, as further oral arguments were continued to May 16. He and Deputy Weber County Attorney Reed Richards are negotiating the parameters of the jail subpoenas.
Retallick hadn't put a time limit on how far back the information goes that he wants. He has agreed he doesn't need records going back past the date of the homicide. Plus, the prosecution has indicated only three of the five will actually testify in the July trial.
The subpoenas seek medical records and disciplinary write-ups, as well as records of visits, telephone calls and letters, plus records of meetings the inmates may have had in the jail with prosecutors and police preparing for the case.
The motion to quash argues the requests violate prisoners' First, Fourth, Eighth, Ninth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Richards is the author of the motion but his boss, County Attorney Dee Smith, is lead on the trial, which is expected to occupy most of July before 2nd District Judge W. Brent West.
Richards, a part-time attorney in Smith's office, is chiefly assigned to jail issues and as counsel to the county sheriff's office after a lengthy career as a full-time criminal prosecutor.
Richards served two terms as Weber County Attorney beginning in the late 1980s before spending eight years as the chief criminal prosecutor for the Utah Attorney General's Office.