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              FILE - In this April 3, 2008 file photo, Gary Michael Hilton appears at the Lamar County Superior Courthouse in Barnesville, Ga. Hilton, a drifter convicted of gruesome hiker slayings in two states is due in court Monday, July 25, 2011, to face charges that he killed two more people on a national forest trail in North Carolina. (AP Photo/Walter Geiger, Barnesville Herald-Gazette, File)

FILE - In this April 3, 2008 file photo, Gary Michael Hilton appears at the Lamar County Superior Courthouse in Barnesville, Ga. Hilton, a drifter convicted of gruesome hiker slayings in two states is due in court Monday, July 25, 2011, to face charges that he killed two more people on a national forest trail in North Carolina. (AP Photo/Walter Geiger, Barnesville Herald-Gazette, File)

Drifter pleads not guilty in killing of NC couple

By Tom Breen

The Associated Press

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ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A drifter convicted of gruesome hiker slayings in two states pleaded not guilty Monday to charges that he killed two more people on a national forest trail in North Carolina.

Prosecutors say Gary Michael Hilton camped out waiting for victims before he encountered Irene and John Bryant and killed them in October 2007. Hilton made his initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Asheville on charges of kidnapping, robbery and murder in the deaths of the retired couple. The case is being handled in federal court because the Bryants were killed in a national forest.


Hilton, 65, wore a white Buncombe County jail jumpsuit and said nothing during his brief appearance. One of his lawyers entered his plea for him. A trial date of Sept. 6 has been set.

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