Justice Scale

The Hutchings family was expecting a sense of closure this holiday season from the torment of their daughter’s 2017 murder.

But instead, the emotions and anger of a trial for Cassidy Hutchings’ accused murderer will likely continue into next year. Cassidy, of Villa Ridge, was 23 when she died.

Cameron J. Hill, 28, Union, is in custody at the Franklin County jail on charges of first-degree murder and armed criminal action. A four-day trial had been set to begin Dec. 10 and end Dec. 13.

However, the public defender representing Hill requested more time for the trial. Hill was indicted by a Franklin County grand jury in March 2017.

Jim Hutchings, Cassidy’s father, said his family is torn apart by the delay.

“We’re really getting closer and closer to the three-year anniversary and we don’t have any hope for a resolution,” he said.

Hutchings questioned the reasoning for the delay.

“It is so the public defender can have more time,” he told The Missourian. “The trial dates were set in April (2019). Now we are getting told that maybe it will happen in the spring.

“We have family members who have already requested vacation so they could be at the trial,” he added. “My wife is falling apart.”

Authorities allege that Hill attacked Hutchings at Reiker Ford along the Bourbeuse River Jan. 19, 2017. According to reports, Hill, Cassidy Hutchings’ ex-boyfriend, allegedly stabbed her and cut her throat with a knife as she tried to flee from him into the river.

After he cut Hutchings’ throat, Hill allegedly chased her into the river where he stabbed her multiple times in the back of her head, neck and back.

Hutchings’ body was recovered from the Bourbeuse River Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, when a passerby saw the body and contacted authorities. Her vehicle was parked near the river access, authorities said.

Police went to a home in Union in the 300 block of Springfield Avenue where Hill had been staying and he was taken into custody. He had recently returned to the area after spending several months in Texas.

According to Jim Hutchings, Hill threatened his daughter through text messages and phone calls in the days, and hours, leading up to her death.

“We are very disappointed in the public defender,” he added. “We thought we would have a quicker resolution — we got let down again.”

Hutchings said the family previously was let down by the justice system when former Franklin County Prosecutor Robert Parks offered Hill a plea deal that would have reduced the charges to second-degree murder in exchange for a guilty plea. Hill would have then been sentenced to 25 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections.

Presiding 20th Circuit Judge Ike Lamke rejected the deal.

After Judge Lamke rejected the deal, Hill’s attorneys filed a motion seeking his recusal from the case. Judge Lamke and later Circuit Judge Craig Hellmann recused themselves from the case.

The trial will be in front of 23rd Circuit Judge Victor J. Melenbrink, Jefferson County.

In May, Judge Melenbrink ruled that the trial will remain in Franklin County, denying the request for a change of venue from Hill’s defense attorney.