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Man extradited from Scotland in 1999 murder set for trial next year

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office booking photo of Phillip Harkins
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office booking photo of Phillip Harkins

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A man accused killing a Jacksonville man in 1999 and spent much of the next 18 years in Scotland trying to avoid prosecution learned Tuesday he will be tried for murder next April.

Phillip Harkins, 38, is accused of murder in the death of Joshua Hayes on a Mayport boat ramp.

He was arrested shortly after the slaying, but was released on bond. By the time he was charged in the murder, police said he had left the country for Scotland.

Harkins was then arrested in Scotland in 2003 after being involved in a deadly car crash.

The U.S. government began efforts to bring him back to face the murder charge in Jacksonville and he was brought back in July, something Hayes’ family said at the time is still difficult to deal with.

“Josh was my oldest. So, yeah, it's hard," Hayes' mother, Patricia Gallagher, said. "Josh has got grandchildren now but he'll never know. He's got a son that never got a chance to know him. So it's hard."

Harkins' trial is scheduled to begin April 23, 2018.