EUREKA >> The murder trial of 44-year-old Gary Lee Bullock was rescheduled a second time during a Wednesday hearing at the Humboldt County Courthouse after his defense attorney made a motion to continue the date.
Conflict Counsel Kaleb Cockrum requested to change the trial date due to plans for an expert to speak with Bullock scheduled to take place in November. Cockrum said he is also working another trial that is scheduled to take place during the same time as Bullock’s previously set Nov. 17 trial date.
“We are requesting Jan. 26 for a trial date,” he said.
Deputy District Attorney Elan Firpo did not object to the motion.
Making his first court appearance since June, Bullock stood handcuffed in an orange jail jumpsuit and watched the proceedings, occasionally consulting with Cockrum.
Bullock is accused of breaking into the St. Bernard Catholic Church rectory on New Year’s Day and torturing Eureka priest and Humboldt State University lecturer Father Eric Freed before beating him to death with a wooden stake and a metal rod. Bullock also allegedly attempted to burn Freed’s body before leaving a lit cigar on the stove with the gas left on and departing the scene in Freed’s vehicle. Freed’s body was found later that day after he did not show up for 9 a.m. Mass.
After receiving a call from Bullock’s wife on Jan. 2, law enforcement learned Bullock was staying at his mother and stepfather’s house in Southern Humboldt. When law enforcement arrived, Bullock’s stepfather drove him out to the officers where Bullock surrendered.
Bullock had been released from the Humboldt County jail a few hours before the murder took place.
Judge John T. Feeney granted the motion for continuance and set a jury trial date for Jan. 26 at 8:30 a.m. The trial will be preceded by a pretrial hearing on Dec. 17 at 2 p.m. and a trial confirmation hearing on Jan. 14 at 2 p.m.
Will Houston can be reached at 707-441-0504.