EDGARD, La. — A judge has ordered a 75-mile move for the trial of a man accused of killing two Louisiana sheriff’s deputies in 2012 and disabling two others.
Brian Smith is scheduled for trial Feb. 15 on charges of murder and attempted murder. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty on the murder charges.
Smith’s lawyer said he couldn’t get a fair trial in St. John the Baptist Parish.
Judge J. Sterling Snowdy has moved the trial to St. Martin Parish, The Advocate reported.
Smith and Kyle Joekel are both accused of killing Deputies Jeremy Triche and Brandon Nielsen and wounding Deputies Michael Boyington and Jason Triche, who are permanently disabled, in a shootout before dawn at a mobile home park on Aug. 16, 2012.
Witnesses said the incident began when Boyington, working a security detail, tried to pull Smith over. Smith drove away rather than show his driver’s license, and the gunfight followed a chase, authorities said.
Joekel, the only other defendant facing a possible death penalty, is scheduled for a separate trial. It also will be moved.
Smith’s father, Terry Smith, is also facing trial but not death. He’s already serving life in an unrelated case.
Three other suspects pleaded guilty years ago as accessories.
Richard Bourke, the director of the Louisiana Capital Assistance Center and Smith’s attorney, tried to convince Snowdy to move proceedings immediately to St. Martin Parish, rather than waiting until the start of the trial.
The case is so well-known that an immediate move would increase chances of prejudicing prospective jurors in the other parish, “defeating the purpose of moving the trial in the first place,” the judge ruled.
Bourke has appealed that decision to the state 5th Circuit Court of Appeal.
Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com