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Former police officer want murder charge tossed, saying it should have been filed elsewhere

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MANY, Louisiana — A former Natchitoches police officer accused of killing a Sabine Parish man wants his murder charge thrown out, saying it should have been filed in Winn Parish.

Robert Barthelemy's attorney, Jason Waltman, filed the motion to quash the charge in April. A hearing was held last week in Sabine District Court, The Times reports (http://bit.ly/1mvocrj), but District Judge Stephen Beasley didn't rule. Instead, he gave District Attorney Don Burkett and Waltman time to file briefs outlining their positions. Another hearing is set July 24.

Barthelemy, a 34-year-old Natchitoches resident, is charged with first-degree murder, second-degree kidnapping and home invasion in the Aug. 20 death of Tony Procell of Many. Sabine Parish officials say Barthelemy kidnapped Procell from his home, drove him to a wooded area in Winn Parish and killed him.

Barthelemy was arrested early the next morning after a high speed chase on Interstate 49 that ended in DeSoto Parish. He held officers at bay for an hour as the threatened suicide.

He offered no information on Procell's whereabouts, other than to tell investigators he left him alive on a dirt road in the Kisatchie National Forest. Deputies were able to trace some of Barthelemy's steps through his mobile phone.

Procell's body was discovered in a shallow grave by a family member on a search team. Investigators believe Procell was beaten with a baseball bat.

Barthelemy has pleaded not guilty. Burkett is seeking the death penalty.

The 24-year-old Procell and Barthelemy knew each other through their service in the Louisiana Army National Guard. The two reportedly had a dispute over a woman.

Waltman wrote that based on the state's response to Barthelemy's discovery motions, it appears the first-degree murder occurred in Winn Parish.

"There is no evidence to support the assertion that the homicide or the formation of the specific intent to kill or inflict great bodily injury occurred in Sabine Parish," Waltman states in the motion.

If it cannot be determined where the offense happened then it is "deemed to have been committed in the parish where the body of the victim was found," he added.

Jurisdiction came into question soon after Procell's body was found because the burial site was on national park property. Federal officials deferred the case to the state of Louisiana. And Burkett and Winn Parish District Attorney Chris Nevils agreed to let Sabine Parish have jurisdiction because Procell's family is from there.


Information from: The Times, http://www.shreveporttimes.com

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