FAIRBANKS — A routine hearing for a Fairbanks woman accused of killing her two young daughters was disrupted Thursday when the defendant protested her public defender’s request that her trial be delayed until December.
“Your honor, I just told my lawyer that I did not want to waive my right to a speedy trial,” Stephany Bilecki called out from her seat at the side of the courtroom. “And I don’t want my trial in December!”
Alaska’s criminal procedure Rule 45 dictates that defendants be brought to trial within 120 days of the time they are served with charging documents or indictments. Bilecki was indicted Aug. 30 on two counts of first-degree murder and four counts of second-degree murder for the 2015 death of her 4-month-old and the 2017 death of her 13-month-old. She was arraigned Sept. 5 in Fairbanks Superior Court and her trial date was set for the week of Oct. 15. An omnibus hearing was held Thursday and a calendar call was scheduled for Oct. 5.
Omnibus hearings are held so the judge can determine whether any motions will be filed, whether both sides have access to important evidence and whether the trial is likely to start on the scheduled date. Trial dates are commonly delayed for a variety of reasons, including pretrial motions, requests for continuance, competency hearings or the availability of witnesses.
At Thursday’s omnibus hearing, Bilecki’s public defender, Justin Racette, asked Superior Court Judge Michael McConahy to reschedule the omnibus hearing for Dec. 13 to allow him time to get up to speed on the case.
“I just received a pretty large volume of evidence on a hard drive just this last week. I’ve only begun to scratch the surface in going through it,” Racette said.
Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Crail agreed that the amount of evidence, known as discovery, was “voluminous.”
“I will note that he should have all, or nearly all, of what we have at this point, but the investigation proceeds. So if we get any additional information we’ll be passing that on,” Crail said.
McConahy, noting “the nature of the case and the representation of the volume of discovery,” granted Racette’s request and rescheduled the trial for the week of Dec. 31.
At that point Bilecki, clad in an orange prison uniform and handcuffed to two other female defendants, loudly voiced her objection. McConahy calmly asked Bilecki whether she knew her Rule 45 dates, to which she replied that she “wasn’t sure.”
McConahy told Bilecki they could “address any speedy trial issues” at her Oct. 5 calendar call.
“I think we’re well within it at this point. If I’m wrong, just bring it up,” McConahy said.
Bilecki was originally charged under her married name of Stephany LaFountain. She divorced her husband after the death of their 13-month-old and has since gone back to her maiden name.
Contact staff writer Dorothy Chomicz at 459-7582. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMcrime.