Hearings on several motions filed by the defense are set for four days, beginning Tuesday. The motions include a request to remove the death penalty specifications, to sever the charges and hold three separate trials, and to have her alleged confession to police thrown out.
Pilkington’s attorneys have submitted a request to delay the hearings, as well as the trial set to begin in October.
Both sides have argued whether the option of the death penalty should be allowed. The defense argues that a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, Hurst v. Florida, which found Florida’s death penalty laws were unconstitutional, should apply to this case. In its motion, it cites a recent Ohio case where a judge agreed the death penalty would not be allowed.
Prosecutors argue Ohio laws differ from Florida’s laws, and the death penalty should be allowed.
A recent motion filed by the defense states the charges should be split into three separate trials because one trial would be “inherently prejudicial.”
It also states the court should “withhold ruling until it has ruled on Ms. Pilkington’s motion to suppress her statements to police.”
Defense attorneys want Pilkington’s alleged confession thrown out because it was made involuntarily, according to court records.
But prosecutors disagree.
“We expect the evidence to show contrary to their assertion,” Logan County Assistant Prosecutor Eric Stewart said.
In the request to push back the start of the hearings, Pilkington’s legal team writes that more time is needed to prepare, and one of her attorneys has been caught up in another case for months.
“Normally defense wants to delay in order to help better better prepare for the case,” University of Dayton Law Professor Thaddeus Hoffmeister said.
This is the second time the defense has requested a delay to the start of trial. Pilkington’s trial was originally scheduled to begin in March, according to court documents.
Joseph Pilkington, Brittany’s husband, recently pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of having sex with his wife before they were married when she was underage. He must register as a sex offender for the next 15 years.