A judge Monday ordered the mother of Kenmore murder suspect Brian R. Hilligas to tell an Erie County grand jury today what her son told her about the fatal beating of his girlfriend.
State Supreme Court Justice Mario J. Rossetti ordered Kathleen Hilligas to testify before the panel that is considering murder and related charges against her 28-year-old son, but her attorney, Mark J. Mahoney, said she may either refuse to testify or ask her son to intervene.
Jailed since Nov. 23, Hilligas, went to Kenmore Police Headquarters after Kathleen A. Fellner, 28, was fatally beaten in his East Hazeltine Avenue home, prosecutors said.
Rossetti rejected a contention by Mahoney that even if Mrs. Hilligas has told police and family members what her son told her, she can still invoke parent-child confidentiality.
Rossetti agreed with prosecutor Patricia I. Carrington that no such right exists in state criminal law.
After the hearing, Mahoney said he will huddle with the suspect's attorneys, Vincent E. Doyle III and Terrence M. Connors, to determine whether Hilligas would fight the denial of confidentiality.
Mahoney declined to say whether Mrs. Hilligas, who balked during testimony before the grand jury Friday, would return voluntarily today.
If she refuses to testify, she could be found in contempt.
Ms. Carrington told the judge that authorities know that Mrs. Hilligas has talked with a Kenmore police officer, a nephew and a cousin about what her son told her of the Nov. 23 attack. Mahoney argued that authorities "don't need" Mrs. Hilligas' testimony.
During a Nov. 28 hearing in Kenmore Village Court, Kenmore Police Capt. Carl LaCorte testified that on the day of the killing, after he told Hilligas his mother told police that he had killed Ms. Fellner, Hilligas nodded his head in agreement.
On Dec. 10, Rossetti ordered Hilligas to submit to DNA testing.
Hilligas and Ms. Fellner, an insurance agent, were friends in high school and renewed their friendship about a year ago, after her marriage ended.
Hilligas is not expected to testify before the grand jury.