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Funding Creates Concerns in Murder Case

Michael Horvath back in court for pre-trial hearing

STROUDSBURG, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) - The Monroe County man accused of kidnapping and murdering his co-worker was back in court Monday.

State police say Michael Horvath of Saylorsburg stalked Holly Grim, then kidnapped the woman from her Lehigh County home in 2013. This was a missing persons case until three years later. In 2016, investigators started excavating Horvath's backyard where they found Grim's remains.

On Monday, we learned new information about the case during a pre-trial hearing.

Horvath's defense called two witnesses to testify. Both work with the Public Defender's Office. The office's lone detective says funding and resources for capitol cases, like this, are running extremely low. He calls it "almost impossible" to keep up with the caseload.

The defense also claims the Commonwealth didn't preserve important evidence, specifically Holly Grim's home. The trailer was torn down in 2016.

In response, a state police investigator took the stand. He testified that Grim's house was photographed and evidence was collected. After a scene is processed and released, he says investigators have no authority over the property.

We also learned new, disturbing details about the alleged crime itself.

Prosecutors say they found disguises inside Horvath's house including a wig, a ski mask and a fake ID. They also found items used to pick locks and make keys. Under Horvath's shed, a Ziploc bag was recovered with leg shackles, handcuffs and a leather bondage inside.

Horvath's trial was originally scheduled to start next month, but the defense asked for more time. Now trial is set to begin next March.

The Public Defenders Office petitioned Monroe County Commissioners for more funding and to hire another detective. In response, the office did receive a part-time detective but they say it's still not enough.


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