The first murder trial in Pioche in possibly more than 25 years is underway now before Seventh Judicial Court Judge Gary Fairman at the county courthouse in Pioche.
Lincoln County District Attorney Daniel Hooge is presenting the state’s case this week against Jerry Elbert Hudson.
The case stems from charges against Hudson, 50, in the home invasion and alleged murder of 64-year-old Carol Hullinger, May 24, 2015, in Caliente.
Hooge said the jury selection of eight women and four men, plus three alternates, was completed last week.
The state will present its case this week, he said, and the defense, led by local attorney Dylan Frehner, will present its case next week. “We are hoping to be done probably by the end of next week (May 11).”
Hooge said this will be the first murder trial he has prosecuted. “I have not had one in the 11 years I’ve been here and the last one in Pioche was possibly in the mid-90s.”
Hudson was arrested by the Criminal Apprehension Team Task Force on June 15, 2015, in Las Vegas.
Charges against him include alleged home invasion, attempted sexual assault, murder, and use of a deadly weapon.
After Hudson’s arraignment in February 2016 in district court, Hooge said, “This is an open murder case, so it will be up to the jury to decide if it is first or second degree murder.” He also said he thought the motive was the sexual assault.
Hullinger was found in her apartment in Caliente on May 24, 2015, when a Lincoln County Sheriff’s deputy was making a routine welfare check of the residence. A preliminary investigation ruled the case to be a homicide.
Following his arrest, Hudson was returned to the Lincoln County Detention Center, where he has remained since.
If convicted, he could face up to 35 years in prison on the home invasion charge, and a possible life sentence on the murder and sexual assault charges.
Hooge said he is “not seeking the death penalty, just life in prison.”