Herman presided over a brief case-management conference for Jeffrey E. Miles Sr., 48, in the Franklin County Jail's courtroom. Separated from the public by a wall with large windows, the judge and attorneys did a cursory update of the case and chose to defer several matters to another pretrial conference scheduled for April 26.
Miles appeared before the judge in an orange prison-issued jumpsuit. He is charged with criminal homicide in the April 3, 2010, stabbing death of Kristy Dawn Hoke, a Hagerstown area mother of three whose body was found in a wooded section of Waynesboro borough.
Herman said he expects a trial would require scheduling a courtroom and staff for a week or longer.
"The first opportunity to have this scheduled for a trial with that length of time is January 2012," he said.
Trial dates should be set during the April 26 pretrial conference, Herman said.
A notice of aggravating circumstances, which identifies Hoke as a confidential informant, was filed last August and allows the prosecution to seek the death penalty against Miles. He is being represented by Public Defender Mike Toms and court-appointed co-counsel Eric Weisbrod, who did not attend Friday's conference.
Assistant District Attorney Eric Augustine, who is prosecuting the case, also did not attend the conference. The prosecution was represented by Assistant District Attorney Jeremiah Zook, who told the judge he had little to discuss beyond asking for that day's proceeding to be held in conjunction with deliberations on motions April 26.
The judge asked the attorneys about the prosecution's response to an omnibus pretrial motion. That response was due March 25.
"It does not appear there was an answer," Herman said, saying that should be filed as soon as possible.
Toms said he received photographs as well as video and audio recordings in items provided by the district attorney's office.
"I have received a thick notebook of hard copy police reports," Toms said, saying he also received 10 to 12 gigabytes of electronic data.
Toms said he either had not seen or could not recall seeing physical evidence and reports from testing of the scissors alleged to have been used in the killing.
The April 26 pretrial conference will be used to "fill in the blanks so to speak" for those and other matters, Herman said.
The parties also are expected to review several requests made by the defense, including one for a change of venue.
Pennsylvania State Police found the skeletal remains of a Waynesboro teenager reported missing in 1995 hours after finding Hoke's body. Police have said information from the Hoke investigation led them to Angie L. Daley's bones, but no one has been charged in her death, which a coroner said was caused by blunt force trauma.