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Hyatt trial moved to May


STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAU) -- A jury trial was supposed to start Tuesday for 33-year-old Jason Hyatt of Plover. That didn’t happen. Hyatt is facing several charges including attempted homicide for allegedly beating his former girlfriend.

Assistant District Attorney David Knaapen says one of the witnesses had a medical problem. “There was an issue with whether or not one of the witnesses was going to be able to come to court to testify, and in talking with the defense counsel and the judge about that, it was agreed that the trial would be cancelled for today (Tuesday) and rescheduled.”

Complicating things further is Hyatt’s right to a speedy trial, and delaying the trial would have violated that right. Instead, prosecutors chose to start over by dropping the charges with the intent of refiling them. “We informed the court that the state intended to dismiss the charges against the defendant without prejudice. That means that we would have the ability to refile the charges again, and we were asking the court to hold the defendant in custody for 72 hours, which is by statute, in order to give us time to refile the charges, and the court went along with that request.”

Knaapen says the new case they will file against Hyatt will be almost identical to the old case, with a couple less charges. “There will be some charges that we are not going to pursue, not because we didn’t think we had a good-faith basis to charge them initially, but because I wanted to provide as clean and direct trial as possible for the jury, as well as for the victim and the defendant.” Knappen says, “We will be going forward with the attempted homicide charge, in addition to some of the other charges that were originally filed.”

Hyatt is accused of attacking a former girlfriend in a Plover apartment in October, and beating her with a baseball bat, tying her to a towel bar, and trying to force her to take sleeping pills. The victim allegedly put her head in the clothes dryer to protect herself from the blows of the baseball bat.

Knaapen says the new charges will be nearly the same as the ones dropped today. The new trial is scheduled to start May 28th before Judge John Finn.

(Our interview with Assistant District Attorney David Knaapen can be heard on our website, here.)