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Transient to Stand Trial in Beating Death of Albert Korn

Three Belmont police officers were called to the witness stand to testify during the preliminary hearing.

 

Judge Mark Forcum found sufficient evidence against Tyler James Hutchinson to have the 24-year-old transient stand trial for the murder of 88-year-old Albert Korn of Belmont, following a 90-minute preliminary hearing Friday in San Mateo County Superior Court.

Hutchinson will be arraigned on all charges on March 2 at 10 a.m. in Superior Court.

At the arraignment, the charges against the defendant will be read or the defendant will be asked if he is aware of the charges against him, and will be asked how he wishes to plead. 

Hutchinson is accused of robbing, burglarizing and beating 88-year-old Albert Korn after breaking into his home on Hallmark Drive on June 2, 2009.

When Korn died from his injuries at Stanford Hospital on June 17, 2009, the defendant was subsequently charged with murder with two special enhancements -- murder during a robbery and murder during a burglary -- making Hutchinson eligible for the death penalty, according to the District Attorney's office. 

Last April, Hutchinson was committed to a state hospital after being found mentally unfit to stand trial, but doctors there found him competent and returned him to San Mateo County for prosecution.

Seven witnesses were called during Friday's preliminary hearing, including Belmont Police Officer Don Lewis, who was the first officer on the scene after the victim's son, Matt Korn, called 911 to report the beating. 

When asked by Deputy District Attorney Al Giannini to describe what he found when he arrived at the Korns' home, Lewis said, 'I saw a man on a gurney being pushed down the driveway into an ambulance." 

Lewis was also the first officer to inspect the Korns' Hallmark Drive home for evidence. He collected fingerprints from around the home, specifically from around the window area where the defendant presumably entered the home. Blood samples were also taken from the home by Lewis with swabs, which were sealed and sent to the county's criminal lab for analysis. 

Giannini showed Lewis and the defense team various pieces of evidence including photographs and items that had been sealed in envelopes. All pieces of evidence were labeled and numbered as the "people's exhibit"

Throughout the hearing, the defendant, dressed in a red jumpsuit, sat motionless and stared straight ahead, which was a departure from his behavior during previous hearings in which he was outspoken and at times non-sensical. After his hearing was postponed in December, Hutchinson spat in the face of his defense attorney. 

After the alleged beating, Hutchinson is suspected of going into the garage and stealing Korn's car, a Jaguar. The car was found three days later parked in the 2100 block of Carlmont Drive in Belmont. The car was subsequently transported to the county crime laboratory. 

Other witnesses included Sgt. Mike Supanich of the Belmont Police Department, who was questioned by the deputy district attorney about the conversation he had with the coroner's office as to the cause of Korn's death, which was reported in the death certificate as a cranial hemorrhage. 

David Lashley, a detective with the Belmont Police Department was questioned about the missing Jaguar and the search warrant that was issued for Hutchinson in Yolo County. 

When Hutchinson was identified as a suspect, he was already in custody in Yolo County serving time for an unrelated residential burglary conviction committed in West Sacramento two days after he allegedly assaulted Korn, according to the District Attorney's office.

Following the three Belmont police witnesses, the prosecution called four witnesses from the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office's criminal and forensics laboratory. All four described in detail the process by which DNA, blood, and fingerprints, were collected, identified and analyzed. 

Andrea Weidmann, a criminalist, described DNA testing and analysis performed on various items belonging to the victim and the defendant, including clothing, shoes, household items and the Jaguar. 

With regards to a shirt Hutchinson was wearing the day of the alleged attack, Giannini showed her the enveloped exhibit and asked, "Did you perform DNA testing and analysis on this white t-shirt?" 

"Yes, I did. I first examined the shirt for the presence of blood, and found four different stains in which the primary source of the DNA was from the victim," answered Weidmann.

Giannini then showed Weidmann a laboratory report on DNA found in the Jaguar and on the window screen in the Korns' house. "In my opinion, he (Hutchison) is the source of the DNA," Weidmann said. 

At the conclusion of the hearing, Judge Forcum announced that the court had found satisfactory evidence to proceed with all charges and set the arraignment for March 2. 

In addition to James Thompson, Richard Keyes is Hutchinson's court appointed attorney. 

All evidence has been returned to the Belmont Police Department for inspection by the defense. 

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