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Pretrial Hearing Held For Accused Cop Killer

By Kerry Longobucco.
A pretrial hearing was held Thursday afternoon for the man accused of killing New York State Trooper Christopher Skinner.

62-year-old Almond Upton's murder trial is scheduled to begin in July. The hearing was held to determine whether the statements Upton made to police on the day of the crime were voluntary.

Upton allegedly mowed down Skinner with his vehicle while the trooper was performing a traffic stop on 81-North in May 2014. The Florida man then left his car at the scene, and fled on foot. Police found him naked, in a wooded area.

On Thursday, three members of law enforcement took the stand to explain their interactions with him before and during his arrest.

Two state police investigators, and one member of the U.S. Marshal's Service, say when they first asked his name, Upton initially claimed to be Jesus Christ. When an investigator asked his mortal name, he then responded with his actual name.

The three men also testified that Upton repeatedly admitted to killing skinner, and said that he "had to do it."

Police say Upton wasn't coerced, threatened, or intimidated in any way, and made all these statements voluntarily.

The nearly two-hour hearing was temporarily put on hold, and will continue at 10 a.m. on March 24th.

Upton has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, and is expected to use an insanity defense when he stands trial this summer.