Trial date set after discovery hearing

By Greg Rivara

Brett M. Hooghkirk’s trial for allegedly raping and killing Lisa M. Garretson is scheduled to begin April 2.

Hooghkirk, 18, is charged with strangling Garretson, then 26, and leaving her charred remains amidst the ashes of her burned-out apartment on Sept. 21, 1988.

At a discovery hearing Tuesday, DeKalb County Circuit Judge John L. Nickels set the trial date, although defense attorney William Brady said he has not looked at the “about 1,000” pages of reports provided by the DeKalb County State’s Attorney Office.

“I have no problems” with the April court date, but it is “unrealistic” that laboratory testing will be completed by April 2, Brady told Nickels.

“The state does not need the lab tests for this case,” said State’s Attorney Michael Coghlan. He declined to comment what tests are being performed.

Coghlan told Nickels he wants to follow the speedy-trial code that mandates a trial within 90 days for someone held without bond instead of 120 if released on bond. The defense can wave the code in either case.

Hooghkirk is being held without bond in the DeKalb County Jail and faces three counts of first degree murder, aggravatd criminal sexual assault, aggravated arson and concealing a homocide. If found guilty, he could face life in prison.

Nickels set March 16 as the deadline for any additional requests from either side.

Court records indicate that Hooghkirk confessed to the slaying when arrested Jan. 22 by DeKalb Police. The confession was recorded on video and audio tape.

Hooghkirk’s rights were not violated in obtaining the confession, Coghlan said.

Brady downplayed the confession’s role in the case. “It is not incumbant upon the defense to prove innocence. It is incumbant upon the state to prove guilt,” Brady said.

Originally from DeKalb, Hooghkirk lived six blocks away from Garretson at the time of the slaying. He was a 1989 graduate from DeKalb Senior High School.