GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The next hearing for a man charged with a 1996 murder in metro Grand Rapids has been delayed to give the defense time to read hundreds of pages of documents.

The decision was made Monday in a Kent County courtroom. Garry Artman’s defense attorney asked to postpone the preliminary hearing, which was scheduled for next week, because he has 350 pages of police reports to sort through.

The prosecutor’s office had no objection and the judge agreed to delay the hearing. It is now expected to happen sometime in October. At that point, the judge will hear testimony and decide if there’s enough evidence to send the case to trial.

Artman, 64, is charged with raping and murdering 29-year-old Sharon Hammack. Her body was found near Grand Rapids on Oct. 3, 1996.

An undated photo shows Sharon Hammack.
An undated photo shows Sharon Hammack and her children.

Artman lived in the Grand Rapids area at the time. Now, he is a long-haul trucker who lives in Florida. He was identified as the suspect through genealogy, with researchers comparing DNA left at the scene of Hammack’s murder to samples in public ancestry databases. That led them to Artman’s parents and additional research pointed to Artman as a likely suspect. He was arrested in Mississippi last month and brought back to Kent County to face charges.

He’s also suspected of murdering 24-year-old Dusty Shuck in 2006. Shuck was last seen alive in California. Her body was found near a truck stop in Maryland.

Other Kent County police agencies are likely looking at whether Artman is a viable suspect in the murders of a dozen women whose bodies were found in the region in the mid-1990s.