07 April 2006
**updated** 27 september 2006
**updated** see related post:
amanda gutweiler hypes 3rd circuit appeals hearing date set down
amanda gutweiler hypes released from jail...
added 8:55 am cdt thursday 29 june 2006 - alexandria daily town talkthe alexandria daily town talk is reporting:
Hypes released on $150,000 bail bond
town talk snip:
Luke's great aunt, Brenda Perdue, and other relatives who lives in West Virginia became emotional when a Town Talk reporter informed them that a judge had released Hypes. Perdue could not bring herself to comment on the court development.J. Mike Small, Hypes' attorney, said "an arrangement was made to underwrite the fee on that bond." That means a 12 percent fee, or $18,000, was paid. Small would not say where Hypes is or who came up with the money.
click here to read more.====**updated** 11:56am cdt wednesday 28 june 2006**
Amanda Gutweiler Hypes, who had been in jail awaiting a trial on three counts of first-degree murder since May 2002, was released from the Rapides Parish Jail today.The Town Talk will update this breaking story shortly.
click here to read more.
click here to read more.
alexandria, louisiana kalb-tv
By Town Talk staff
Amanda Gutweiler Hypes remains in jail, for now.
The former Tioga mother, who has been accused of killing her three children in a house fire, has remained in jail even after 9th Judicial District Judge Donald Johnson threw out the murder indictments against her.
On Friday, Johnson took a request under advisement for Hypes' release or her to be released on bail.
He told attorneys for both sides that written reasons for his decision would be given.
It is unknown when a decision may be made.
Attorney J. Michael Small, a member of Hypes' defense team, said he would be surprised if the waiting for a decision from Johnson would go very long.
Hypes' attorneys requested a release hearing after Johnson determined, among other things, secret grand jury testimony was given to prosecution witnesses and threw out the three first-degree murder indictments.
Hypes' three children -- Sadie Plumm, Luke Hayden and Jessica Gutweiler -- died in January 2001 in a fire at their home on Friar Tuck Road. Hypes was arrested the following year after a grand jury indicted her on murder charges.
The hearing Friday focused on testimony of three defense expert witnesses. Small said he was "very pleased" with how the hearing went.
All three experts countered the findings of experts presented by the prosecution, Small said.
George Barnes, a retired Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms fire investigator, testified that his opinion was that the prosecution experts based their conclusions on wives' tales, the crime scene was not preserved and that there was no attitude of impartiality by fire investigators.
Hypes has remained in jail since her arrest in 2002.
Originally published June 24, 2006
Arson experts to testify in Gutweiler hearing
By Jim Leggett
Three arson experts, hired by the defense, will testify in Amanda Gutweiler Hypes' hearing on whether she should be released from prison or have a bond set.
Lawyers for both sides went into 9th Judicial District Judge Donald Johnson's court Monday to argue whether Hypes should be freed or have bond set. Johnson threw out Hypes' April 2002 indictment.
Mike Small, Hypes' attorney, introduced into evidence affidavits by three arson experts saying the methodology used by the state was flawed. But Tom Walsh, assistant district attorney, said he wanted the chance to question the witnesses in person. Johnson said there would be a telephone conference call and a hearing would be set once a date for all three could be set.
George H. Barnes, one of the experts, said, "The fire investigation conducted by the state of Louisiana does not comply with the accepted methodologies utilized and relied upon by the law enforcement and fire investigation communities. Their conclusions that the fire is incendiary in nature and that the defendant was responsible for the fire were made as a result of their use of methodologies that are not accepted by the relevant scientific communities."
Another expert is John Lentini, part of a team investigating an arson case in Texas. He is working with The Innocence Project, a New York-based group that seeks to reveal wrongful convictions.
The third expert is Doug Carpenter who was critical of work done by Dr. John DeHaan and Dr. David Icove who did work for the state in the case.
Johnson threw out the indictment based on the leaking of grand jury testimony to DeHaan and Bobby Sandoval, a Rapides Parish sheriff's investigator.
Walsh predicted Small would enter the testimony of the three experts via affidavits and deny him cross examination. But Johnson said the three experts would be subpenaed and a full hearing would be held.
In the meantime, the Louisiana Supreme Court is scheduled to hear an appeal by Small on the refusal to allow the fact that Hypes passed a polygraph test into evidence. That hearing will be May 17 at 9:30 a.m.
Hypes was charged with murdering her three children -- Jessica Gutweiler, 3; Luke Hayden, 6; and Sadie Plum, 10 -- in a January 2001 house fire. She was indicted in April 2002 and has been in prison since.
Originally published May 9, 2006
Johnson to place ads in Opelousas paper instead of making trip
By Jim Leggett
Ninth Judicial District Judge Donald Johnson said Thursday he will not go to Opelousas on Monday to explain why jury selection will not begin in the murder trial of Amanda Gutweiler Hypes.
Instead, he will place newspaper ads in the Opelousas Daily World, he said.
After talking to the chief judge in the 27th Judicial District Court covering St. Landry Parish, Johnson said it was not necessary for him to go to Opelousas. Jury selection was scheduled to start Monday.
However, Johnson threw out the indictments on April 6 because he said grand jury testimony had been given illegally to the state's expert witness and to a sheriff's deputy.
"I didn't want jurors to take a day off from work only to find out the selection wouldn't start," Johnson said.
He said he was convinced that most will find out through the newspaper ads, by calling to check, or by word of mouth.
His decision to throw out the indictments has been appealed to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal in Lake Charles. Whoever wins there, the losing side then probably will appeal to the Louisiana Supreme Court.
Hypes is charged with first-degree murder in the January 2001 deaths of her three children -- Jessica Gutweiler, 3; Luke Hayden, 6; and Sadie Plum, 10. She was indicted in April 2002 and has been in jail ever since.
Assistant District Attorney Tom Walsh is seeking the death penalty.
Mike Small, Hypes' attorney, is seeking to have his client either released because there is no indictment or to have her bond set.
Originally published April 21, 2006
Small asks for release of Hypes or reduced bail
By Jim Leggett
Amanda Gutweiler Hypes' attorney, Mike Small, has filed a request seeking either her immediate release from jail or a reduction in bail after her indictment on three counts of first-degree murder was thrown out last week.
Small said Hypes has been incarcerated for nearly four years on the basis of an "illegal indictment."
"She is entitled to be released," he said Thursday.
On April 6, 9th Judicial District Judge Donald Johnson threw out the indictment, ruling the state had illegally disclosed grand jury testimony of a key state witness to Dr. John DeHaan, its expert witness. Other grand jury testimony was given to Rapides Parish Sheriff's Detective Bobby Sandoval, the judge said.
He further ruled that the two cannot testify against Hypes.
Small noted that the state is appealing the ruling to quash the indictment, rather than issue a new indictment. He said "it is not possible" to know how long that will take.
Tom Walsh, the assistant district attorney prosecuting the case, could not be reached for comment Thursday. Today is a state holiday.
Hypes is accused of killing her three children -- Jessica Gutweiler, 3; Luke Hayden, 6; and Sadie Plum, 10. They were killed in a January 2001 house fire. She was indicted in April 2002.
Originally published April 14, 2006
Gutweiler case continued
By Jim Leggett
The trial of Amanda Gutweiler Hypes on three charges of first-degree murder was formally continued Monday by 9th Judicial District Judge Donald Johnson who said he would personally go to Opelouas April 24 to tell prospective jurors.
Mike Small, Hypes' attorney, and Tom Walsh, lead prosecutor, were in Johnson's court Monday for motions, but since Johnson threw out the indictments Thursday, there technically is no indictment. "It's obvious that this trial will not go on April 24," the judge said.
He said he would go to Opelousas to present "a statement of the case."
The state plans to appeal Johnson's action, and it has 30 days to do so. Then the defense has time to respond. Besides, whichever side loses at the 3rd Circuit will appeal to the Louisiana Supreme Court, and that will take even more time.
So, all motions are on hold until the appeals are exhausted.
In the meantime, Hypes remains in jail pending outcome of those appeals.
She is charged with killed her three children -- Jessica Gutweiler, 3; Luke Hayden, 6; and Sadie Plum, 10 -- in a January 2001 house fire. She was indicted in April 2002 and has been in jail since.
The case was originally assigned to Judge Harry Randow. When the court realigned last year, the case was assigned to Judge Tom Yeager. But the 3rd Circuit found the court had not followed its own rules on allotments, and the case ended up with Johnson.
On Thursday, Johnson threw out the indictments on the grounds that grand jury testimony was given to two state witnesses without permission of the court.
Kate Williamson, who is working on the case with Small, said Walsh's "actions clearly violated long-standing Louisiana law and left the judge with no choice but to throw out the indictment. There is ample support for the court ruling ...," she said.
Walsh maintains his actions were proper and predicted strongly that he would be upheld on appeal.
Originally published April 11, 2006
Indictment against Amanda Hypes quashed
By Jim Leggett
Ninth Judicial District Judge Donald Johnson today threw out the first-degree murder indictment of Amanda Gutweiler Hypes in the deaths of her three children, ruling that grand jury testimony was turned over illegally to an expert and a sheriff’s deputy.
Johnson said the evidence showed Tom Walsh, the Rapides Parish prosecutor in the case, turned over grand jury testimony to Dr. John DeHaan, an expert in arson, and Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Detective Bobby Sandoval. The judge said Walsh’s actions violated state law since they weren’t done with court approval.
Johnson also ruled that DeHaan and Sandoval cannot testify in any future proceedings against Hypes.
Further, the judge ruled that Walsh should be held in constructive contempt of court for violation of court rules on criminal procedure. That show-cause hearing will not be scheduled until the appeals in the case have been exhausted, the judge said.
Walsh said Thursday that Johnson’s ruling is “unprecedented” and that “his reasoning is flawed.”
“I think that it is wrong. I haven’t said this one time in 21 years of prosecuting, but I guarantee the appellate court is going to reverse it,” Walsh said.
“It’s the worst opinion I’ve seen – it has no basis in law. All he’s doing is setting up an artificial roadblock in our attempt to bring her to justice. He is a judge, so I am not going to say anything disrespectful,” the prosecutor said.
Mike Small, Hypes’ attorney, said Thursday that he felt “good about this opinion.”
“We are legally correct. Grand jury secrecy is long-standing and very, very rigorously enforced,” Small said. “The violation is so clear, it’s problematic.”
Walsh said the April 24 trial date is probably off. Small didn’t go that far, though he did say motions are scheduled Monday before Johnson. But there’s now no case, Small said.
Hypes is accused of killing her three children – Jessica Gutweiler, 3; Luke Hayden, 6; and Sadie Plum, 10 – in a January 2001 house fire. She was indicted in April 2002 and has been in jail ever since. She will remain in jail until the appeals are final.
District Attorney Jam Downs said the state will appeal to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal, and if it isn’t satisfied there, it will take the case to the Louisiana Supreme Court.
Originally published April 6, 2006
Posted by wst... at 09:36