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Appeals court upholds ruling keeping murder trial of former police officer in Sabine Parish


MANY, Louisiana — The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal in Lake Charles has upheld a district court's ruling from July that keeps the homicide trial of a former Natchitoches police officer in Sabine Parish.

The Times reports ( ) attorneys representing Robert Barthelemy earlier this year sought a venue change for his first-degree murder and kidnapping trial by arguing their client was being prosecuted in the wrong parish. They contended Barthelemy's trial should be held in Winn Parish, which is where the victim, Tony Procell, was found in a shallow grave.

District Judge Stephen Beasley denied the motion. Beasley has previously made arrangements for the jury to be selected from St. Landry Parish but transported to Many for the trial.

The trial date is Jan. 19. Another pretrial court hearing is set Oct. 23.

District Attorney Don Burkett is seeking the death against Barthelemy, 34, of Natchitoches, who is accused of taking Procell, 24, at gunpoint from his Many home on the morning of Aug. 20, 2013 and driving him to a wooded area in Winn Parish where he was killed. His body was found five days later.

Barthelemy, who was arrested the day after Procell was reported missing, has pleaded not guilty. The men knew each other from their service in the Louisiana Army National Guard. A domestic situation involving the two and a woman reportedly was at the center of their dispute.

Information from: The Times,

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