MOUNT CARROLL, Ill. — Convicted murderer David Huffman appeared before a judge in Carroll County (Ill.) Circuit Court Friday morning, petitioning the court for an early release.

Huffman, now 28, was convicted in 1995 of murdering his girlfriend, 14-year-old Melinda Wilkinson, with a baseball bat, and sentenced to 75 years in prison.

On Friday, Judge William Kelly heard a motion by the state to dismiss an amended post-conviction relief petition filed by Huffman as he seeks a reduced sentence. Kelly denied the state’s motion and granted a motion by defense counsel to continue the case until May 12 at 2 p.m. so Huffman can secure private counsel.

Huffman, 17 at the time of the murder, killed Wilkinson with repeated blows to her head with an aluminum baseball bat as she was out for a walk. The blows resulted in three skull fractures and severe gashes as well as bruises to her left hand from trying to fend off the assault. She also suffered bleeding to the liver.

Huffman then covered Wilkinson’s body in a bedsheet, placed her into a garbage can and dropped the can into the Mississippi River in a remote area near his home.

Later that year, Huffman pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and concealing a homicide and was sentenced to 75 years in prison.

Since 1995, Huffman has twice tried to appeal his sentence to have it reduced, but without success. The Illinois Appellate Court upheld a Carroll County judge’s decision to deny his request. In January 2003, a clemency hearing was held in Springfield, Ill., before the Prisoner Review Board as Huffman again sought a reduction in his sentence.