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2 Sailors Ordered to Stand Trial for Murder in Park

February 05, 1992

Two Navy men were ordered Tuesday to stand trial for murder in the death of an El Cajon school counselor in Balboa Park.

At the conclusion of a preliminary hearing, David A. Kring and Todd E. Fluette were ordered by Municipal Judge Lillian Y. Lim to be tried for the brutal killing of 48-year-old Michael Wayne Hamilton.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Gordon Paul Davis announced that his office is considering charging Kring, 23, and Fluette, 18, with committing murder while lying in wait. This special circumstance charge makes the pair eligible for the death penalty.

Kring and Fluette will be told about the special circumstance charge when they are arraigned Feb. 18 in Superior Court.

Hamilton's wife, Barbara, testified Tuesday that she and her husband had "reached a compromise" about his alternative lifestyle and that he was free to have homosexual encounters.

Hamilton was one of three men found dead in roughly the same area of Balboa Park over a five-week period last year.

However, Fluette's attorney, Joe Kownacki, said Barbara Hamilton's testimony undermines the prosecution assertion that the men were lying in wait.

Mrs. Hamilton said "he would look for a more secluded spot to engage in his homosexual activity," so he must have lured the two Navy men down the hill leading to California 163, Kownacki said.

During his closing argument, an unusual event in preliminary hearings, Davis outlined the prosecution theory that Kring and Fluette had discussed killing a homosexual, then they had performed the act and worked out a story to cover their actions.

In a tape recording made secretly by a classmate at the San Diego Naval Hospital five days after the murder, Fluette said, "We have everything worked out."

Later on the same tape, Fluette makes one of several statements prosecutors claim links him to a murder: "We're not part of the serial killings. We only did one, so they can't trace us back."

Kring and Fluette are being held in lieu of $2 million bail.

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