Suspect in Ga. Hiker's Murder Denied Bail

Autopsy shows she was held captive for 3 days, bludgeoned
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 9, 2008 2:47 PM CST
Kyle Kleber, kneels in front of a picture of missing Atlanta hiker Meredith Emerson during a home town vigil, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2008 in Holly Springs, N.C. Authorities searching for the woman, who was...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Gary Michael Hilton was denied bail this afternoon on murder charges in the gruesome death of 24-year-old Georgia hiker Meredith Emerson. The DA on the case says he has not decided whether to seek the death penalty, despite an agreement between Hilton and investigators to forgo it if Hilton led investigators to Emerson's body. Authorities now believe Hilton held Emerson captive for three days before bludgeoning her to death and decapitating her.

Hilton has two prior felony convictions, and police say he was likely a drifter, living in his white van, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Emerson’s family has gone into seclusion as the gruesome case has become national news. They have avoided news conferences and posted notes on their property asking the media to keep its distance.