Murder suspect Desmonte Leonard in court today - WRBL

Murder trial could start in October for Desmonte Leonard

Posted: Updated:
Desmonte Leonard Desmonte Leonard
Desmonte Leonard Desmonte Leonard
LEE COUNTY, Ala. -

Auburn murder suspect Desmonte Leonard is one step closer to getting a start date for his trial. He appeared in a Lee County courtroom today for a status hearing. The 23-year-old is accused of shooting three people to death and injuring three others at an apartment complex in June 2012.

The defense requested the trial begin in October or November. The State says they have a few older capitol murder cases that may take priority over this newer one. The judge will set a trial date at an August status conference.

In court Thursday, Leonard wore a pink shirt, much like his family members who came to support him.

The defense made a motion to allow Leonard to revisit the crime scene at University Heights apartment complex with his lawyers. Defense Attorney Susan James said it's critical to building their case because video that exists of the shooting may not show everything that happened. "You clearly see shots, but you don't know where they're coming from or what angle they're coming from or no one's placed Leonard or the other two individuals necessarily in any particular spot," said James.

The State said it would create numerous security concerns and media frenzy. The judge will review the motion.

James said they are waiting until the jury is brought in before they will request a change of venue for the trial. But, she anticipates a ruling similar to the Harvey Updyke trial, where a change of venue was granted before Updyke took a plea deal. "When you mix football in, just like in that case, but you mix the tragedy that went on here, it's just going to be, we think, virtually impossible to find jurors that don't have knowledge of the facts of the case or have talked about it in the community amongst themselves," James said.

Part of the hearing was sealed and only the defense and judge were allowed in the room while they discussed an unknown matter.    

James said her client is holding up pretty well after nearly a year in jail and is ready for the trial to begin.

A status hearing was originally set for Mar. 20, but Leonard was never transported from Montgomery, where he is being held, to the Lee County Detention Center. James said it was a miscommunication with the Auburn Police Department.

Leonard has pleaded not guilty in the case. He is facing six charges, including capital murder, attempted murder and assault.

Former Auburn football players Ladarious Phillips and Ed Christian were killed in the June 9 shooting. Demario Pitts of Opelika was also shot to death.

Sydney Cameron

Sydney joined the WRBL news team in December 2011 after working as a freelance reporter in Washington, D.C. More>>

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Motorcycle club altercation leaves 2 dead, 2 injured

    Motorcycle club altercation leaves 2 dead, 2 injured

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 7:11 AM EDT2014-09-02 11:11:25 GMT
    Two victims were shot in the chest and died. Two other people had non-life-threatening injuries and are expected to survive, said police.
    Two victims were shot in the chest and died. Two other people had non-life-threatening injuries and are expected to survive, said police.
  • New Details: Columbus man dies after being run over by own car

    New Details: Columbus man dies after being run over by own car

    Monday, September 1 2014 9:46 PM EDT2014-09-02 01:46:27 GMT
    Flowers were left at the scene where 29-year-old Anthony Williams died early Sunday morning after police say he was run over by his car.The crash happened at Chase Homes on 1st Avenue. Many residents say they could hear the crash from inside their home.“You heard the loud boom and there was a crash, when I came over here he was just laying on the ground,” said Selena Ross.Police say initially they responded to a call late Saturday night about a pedestrian being run over by a car. After talkin...
    Flowers were left at the scene where 29-year-old Anthony Williams died early Sunday morning after police say he was run over by his car.The crash happened at Chase Homes on 1st Avenue. Many residents say they could hear the crash from inside their home.“You heard the loud boom and there was a crash, when I came over here he was just laying on the ground,” said Selena Ross.Police say initially they responded to a call late Saturday night about a pedestrian being run over by a car. After talkin...
  • Zip line course runs into setbacks, set to open next Friday

    Zip line course runs into setbacks, set to open next Friday

    Monday, September 1 2014 7:14 PM EDT2014-09-01 23:14:59 GMT
    While more than 200 people rafted down the Chattahoochee River on Labor Day - no one has been able to zip line across the river.That's because the zip line course, dubbed “The Blue Heron,” is still closed. Employees at Whitewater Express in Columbus say they had hoped for it to open Monday, but that didn't happen. They say it will open Friday, September 12th- almost 2 weeks later.“We just had, some insurance things we just had to adjust- building codes, everything like that,” says Charlie Cum...
    While more than 200 people rafted down the Chattahoochee River on Labor Day - no one has been able to zip line across the river.That's because the zip line course, dubbed “The Blue Heron,” is still closed. Employees at Whitewater Express in Columbus say they had hoped for it to open Monday, but that didn't happen. They say it will open Friday, September 12th- almost 2 weeks later.“We just had, some insurance things we just had to adjust- building codes, everything like that,” says Charlie Cum...
Powered by WorldNow

1350 13th Avenue
Columbus, GA 31901

Telephone: 706.323.3333
Fax: 706.327.6655
Email: news@wrbl.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.