David Bilderback

A March 4 jury trial has been set for a man accused of shooting and killing his son near his Avery auto shop in 2017.

David Bilderback, 49, chatted with the bailiff during the trial setting on Aug. 15, while Public Defenders Leigh Fleming and Tony Salazar convened with Deputy District Attorney Brad Jones and Judge Susan Harlan.

“(I’m) feeling pretty good. Pretty tired,” Bilderback said, lamenting the two years he has spent awaiting trial. “Hopefully, I’ll get a trial date today. … Molasses slow.”

Charged with first degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, assault with a firearm and gross negligence of discharging a firearm, with five additional enhancements for the nature of the charges, Bilderback may serve a maximum sentence of more than two life sentences if convicted.

The trial is expected to last two-and-a-half weeks, including extra time allotted for jury selection.

According to Jones, the jury selection process may take longer than normal due to “the family living in the area for a long time.”

Bilderback, who allegedly said, “Life happens, [expletive] happens,” when questioned about the death of 19-year-old Cole Bilderback, told the judge “I would not like March,” concerning his trial date.

Harlan responded, “It doesn’t matter if you like it or not, what matters is it’s available.”

A pretrial conference is scheduled for Aug. 30, followed by a trial readiness conference on Feb. 28 and a trial confirmation conference on March 3.


Dakota graduated from Bret Harte in 2013 and went to Davidson College, NC where she earned a bachelor's degree in Arab studies. After spending time studying in the Middle East and Europe, she is happy to be home, writing about the community she loves.

Comment Policy

Calaveras Enterprise does not actively monitor comments. However, staff does read through to assess reader interest. When abusive or foul language is used or directed toward other commenters, those comments will be deleted. If a commenter continues to use such language, that person will be blocked from commenting. We wish to foster a community of communication and a sharing of ideas, and we truly value readers' input.