Despite scheduling challenges, Erick Almandinger’s trial is still expected to start in May.

The 18-year-old was in a Palmer courtroom for a status hearing on Tuesday. Almandinger is accused of killing Palmer teenager David Grunwald in November 2016.

Judge Gregory Heath called into the hearing. After presenting several dates for an evidentiary hearing both the state and defense agreed on February 5 and 6.

Palmer District Attorney Roman Kalytiak says that hearing will give Judge Heath a chance to weigh in on what evidence can be used in court during the trial.

Almandinger’s attorney, Jon Iannaccone from the Kenai Office of Public Advocacy, filed a motion to suppress statements the suspect made to investigators before and after Grunwald’s body was found.

In the motion, Iannaccone requested statements made on November 18, November 23 and December 2 not be used as evidence.

Iannaccone said Almandinger had not been read his Miranda Rights when he made comments to investigators during the November interviews.

In the December 2 interview, Iannaccone says Almandinger’s comments were not voluntary and “police tricked Erick’s family into getting Erick to make a statement.”

Court records show Almandinger’s “mental condition was not good” during the December 2 interview because Almandinger’s mother told investigators her son was “high as f**k” at the time.

The state counters the defense’s arguments in a separate motion saying, “the defendant’s actions after he affirmatively stated that he understood his rights demonstrate a knowing, intelligent and voluntary waiver of rights.”

Almandinger’s trial is expected to start May 1.

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