Attorney files for dismissal in capital murder case

Published 4:43 pm Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A defense attorney has moved to dismiss capital murder charges against his client.

Julian McPhillips filed the papers in Circuit Court of Dallas County late last week, saying his client, Vanessa Gill, hadn’t received a speedy trial. The legal document asks for a speedy trial in the alternative.

“She has remained in jail without the benefit of bond since March 2006,” McPhillips said. “That’s 2 1/2 years.”

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Gill was arrested and charged with capital murder March 30, 2006 and placed in the Dallas County Jail without bond.

Gill is accused of arranging with her nephew, Curtis J. Cook of Wetumpka, to kill her husband, Marshall Gill. The Gills lived at 6569 Alabama Highway 22 in Valley Grande.

McPhillips took the case over recently as the attorney of record. He filed the motion to dismiss the indictment several days later. In a telephone conversation, McPhillips said the district attorney had a weak case against his client.

District Attorney Michael Jackson responded Tuesday that his case against Vanessa Gill is strong. “That’s something they always file,” Jackson said Tuesday about the latest development in the case.

Two years ago, authorities said they discovered Vanessa Gill in the driveway of the couple’s home, attempting to administer CPR to her husband. It appeared someone had bludgeoned him.

Cook had left the scene, authorities said at the time, and led Dallas County deputies on a high-speed chase into Selma. Selma police officers joined the chase, which ended near the intersection of Water Avenue and Union Street.

Authorities said Cook had a baseball bat in the back seat. Sheriff Harris Huffman said at the time it appeared Cook had blood on his clothes and in the back seat of the car.

Cook has yet to stand trial in the case. A grand jury indicted him on capital murder charges.

An indictment does not determine the guilt or innocence of a person, but is a formal accusation of a felony, issued by a grand jury after considering evidence presented by a prosecutor.