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The Gary Michael Hilton Case

Background and Latest Developments

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Gary Michael Hilton

Gary Michael Hilton

Mug Shot

On New Year's Day 2008, 24-year-old University of Georgia graduate Meredith Emerson went hiking in the north Georgia mountains hear Vogel State Park with her dog Ella as she had done many times before. She failed to return home from the hike. Witnesses remember seeing her talking with a gray-haired man in his 60s who had a red dog named Dandy.

Latest Developments

Gary Michael Hilton Sentenced to Death
April 21, 2011
A drifter convicted of killing a Florida Sunday School teacher and leaving her beheaded body in a national forest has been officially sentenced to death. Gary Michael Hilton was convicted in February of killing, kidnapping and robbing Cheryl Dunlap, 46.

Previous Developments

Road Ends in Florida for Gary Michael Hilton
Feb. 21, 2011
A Tallahassee jury of six women and six men deliberated one hour and 20 minutes before unanimously recommending a death sentence for a serial killer who avoided execution in Georgia. Gary Michael Hilton will be sentenced to death for the kidnapping, robbery, murder and dismemberment of Cheryl Dunlap.

Gary Michael Hilton Found Guilty
Feb. 15, 2011
A serial killer who avoided the death penalty for killing a University of Georgia graduate may face a different fate now that he has been found guilty of killing a North Florida nurse. Gary Michael Hilton has been found guilty of murder, kidnapping and grand theft in the death of Crawfordville nurse Cheryl Dunlap.

Suspected Serial Killer Gets Trial Date
Nov. 29, 2009
Ignoring a request from defense attorneys for more time, a Florida judge has set a trial date for a suspected serial killer. Gary Michael Hilton will go on trial July 12 for the murder of Cheryl Dunlap of Crawfordville.

Gary Michael Hilton Extradited to Florida
June 6, 2008
A man who is serving a life sentence for the kidnapping, murder and decapitation of a Georgia hiker has been extradited to Florida to face charges of killing and decapitating a woman in the Apalachicola National Forest. Gary Michael Hilton will face trial for the death of 46-year-old Cheryl Hodges Dunlap, a nurse from Crawfordville, Florida.

Hilton May Have Used Gun on One Victim
May 16, 2008
Federal authorities may now get involved with the prosecution of a suspected serial killer after autopsy results showed that one of his alleged victims died of a gunshot wound. John Bryant, who disappeared while hiking with his wife in North Carolina, died of a gunshot to the head, according to the autopsy.

Gary Michael Hilton to Fight Florida Extradition
April 8, 2008
The man who confessed in detail to the kidnapping and murder of Meredith Emerson in the north Georgia mountains, has decided to fight extradition to Florida to face charges of killing a woman in the Apalachicola National Forest near Tallahassee. He also wants a court-appointed attorney to help him avoid being transferred to Florida.

Meredith Emerson Fought Hard to Survive
March 24, 2008
A Georgia hiker who was killed and decapitated in the north Georgia mountains, used her wits and her martial arts training to fight off her attacker for four days, desperately trying to save her life.

Gary Michael Hilton Helped With Murder Movie
March 14, 2008
In a strange twist to an already bizarre case, an accused serial killer once helped develop a plot to a murder movie that had similarities to the crimes that he is now accused of committing. An Atlanta attorney who also produces movies said Gary Michael Hilton helped him come up with the plot of "Deadly Run" in 1995.

Gary Michael Hilton Indicted in Florida
Feb. 29, 2008
A man who is serving a life sentence after pleading guilty to killing a hiker in the north Georgia mountains has now been indicted in the death of Cheryl Hodges Dunlap in the Apalachicola National Forest in Florida.

Gary Michael Hilton Pleads Guilty
Feb. 1, 2008
In a stunning development in the case of a murdered and decapitated Georgia hiker, Gary Michael Hilton was indicted, pleaded guilty and sentenced to life in prison all within one court day.

Hiker Suspect May Be Serial Killer
Jan. 17, 2008
The man accused of beating a 24-year-old Georgia hiker to death and decapitating her is suspected in at least four other murder cases in three different states. Authorities from Georgia, North Carolina and Florida met this week to compare notes on Gary Michael Hilton, suspected in the deaths of several other hikers.

Hiker Was Alive 3 Days Before Beaten to Death
Jan. 8, 2008
Meredith Emerson was alive for three days after she disappeared from a Georgia hiking trail New Year's Day before she died from a blow to the head and was later decapitated. The man accused of her death led authorities to her body in exchange for not facing the death penalty.

Suspect Leads Police to Hiker's Body
Jan. 7, 2008
An autopsy is scheduled today for Meredith Emerson whose body was found after her accused kidnapper showed authorities where to find it in the Georgia woods. Investigators would not give any details on the condition of her body or her possible cause of death.

Man Arrested in Missing Hiker Case
Jan. 5, 2008
A 61-year-old Georgia man has been charged with kidnapping with bodily injury in connection with the case of missing hiker, Meredith Emerson, after police found three blood-soaked shirts that belonged to the 24-year-old Buford woman. Investigators also have surveillance photos of Gary Michael Hilton trying to use Emerson's ATM card, they said at a news conference.

Police Seek Clues in Missing Hiker Case
Jan 4, 2008
A 24-year-old Georgia woman has been missing since New Year's Day and authorities are seeking a "person of interest" who was seen talking with her on a popular trial in the North Georgia Mountains. Meredith Emerson, a 2005 graduate of the University of Georgia, was an experienced mountain trial hiker along with her dog Ella.

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