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The seal of St. Lawrence County rendered in stained glass at the county building in Canton. Photo: Mark Kurtz
The seal of St. Lawrence County rendered in stained glass at the county building in Canton. Photo: Mark Kurtz

After two months, Hillary bail hearing set to resume

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The bond hearing for Oral "Nick" Hillary is set to continue in St Lawrence County Court Monday. Hillary is charged with the 2011 murder of Garrett Phillips, a 12-year-old boy from Potsdam.

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Reported by

Natasha Haverty
Reporter and Producer

Oral Hillary has been held at St. Lawrence County Jail for nearly two months. Potsdam Police arrested Hillary in May on murder charges, and Judge Jerome Richards set his bail at $75,000 cash, $150,000 in secure bond.

At that hearing, Defense Attorney Christopher Renfroe told Judge Richards that they plan to fight the charges, and that his client is committed to appearing before the court whenever asked. District Attorney Mary Rain said she was disappointed with the bail the judge set, arguing that Hillary is a flight risk.

Since then, Hillary and his defense team have presented several property appraisals to the court. But District Attorney Rain questioned the value of those properties, as well as the validity of the bond company, even though according to Judge Richards’ office, the bond company in question has been used before in his courtroom.

So Judge Richards adjourned the case for three weeks, to give Rain and her team time to review the evidence—including those property assessments and the bond company’s license. But on June 20, the hearing was adjourned again, and is finally set for this Monday.

In addition to asking the judge to raise Hillary’s bail, District Attorney Rain also put forward a motion that if Hillary’s bond is accepted, the judge place limitations on his mobility, and take possession of his passport.

Garrett Phillips’ death three years ago sparked a broad community campaign for the 12 year-old’s killer to be brought to justice. The police’s investigation led to Oral Hillary filing a civil suit, claiming the Potsdam department had violated his rights and damaged his reputation. The murder case also became a major part of Mary Rain’s political campaign for district attorney last fall.

In those three years, Hillary has been living in Potsdam with his family, and until this past May, was Clarkson University’s soccer coach. 

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