Attorneys for The News & Observer and other media outlets are scheduled to argue Wednesday in Durham County Superior Court that search warrants and other records in the Faith Hedgepeth murder investigation should be released to the public.
Hedgepeth, a 19-year-old UNC-Chapel Hill student, was found killed in her apartment at Hawthorne at the View on Old Durham Road in Chapel Hill on Sept. 7, 2012. No one has been charged.
The Chapel Hill Police Department and the Durham County District Attorney’s Office, which will prosecute the case, have asked that the search warrants, the 911 tape recordings from the case and other records remain under seal.
Those items have been under seal for nearly 18 months, and the order sealing them has been extended numerous times.
The motion, submitted to the court by Michael J. Tadych of Stevens Martin Vaughn & Tadych, PLLC, states that some of the sealing orders in the past were not supported by written motions setting forth compelling government interests that justify the requested sealing.
It also states that some of the sealing orders were issued before the search warrants were served or executed and therefore were based on speculation. Also some of the sealing orders do not include a list of facts or conclusions of law that explain why the warrants and tapes continued to remain under seal, the motion states.
The other media outlets asking that the items be unsealed include The Daily Tar Heel and Capitol Broadcasting Co., which includes WRAL-TV, WRAZ-TV, WRAL-FM and WCMC.