Judge denies request to move Montgomery officer’s murder trial

Alabama
aaron_smith_police_shooting_238927

(AP) — A judge refuses to move a Montgomery police officer’s murder trial in the case of an unarmed black man’s shooting in 2016.

Montgomery Circuit Judge Greg Griffin on Tuesday denied a change-of-venue request made by lawyers for Aaron Smith, who is charged in the 2016 shooting death of 58-year-old Greg Gunn.

Authorities say the confrontation began when Smith stopped Gunn as Gunn was walking home from a neighborhood card game.

An investigation shows Smith fired a stun gun at the victim three times, beat him with a baton, then shot him five times.

Smith’s lawyers had tried to move the trial from Montgomery County, arguing the community is “infested with racial prejudice and hatred” toward Smith because news coverage emphasized that Smith is white and Gunn was black. The county’s population is 57 percent black.

Prosecutors argued there’s no evidence that media coverage harmed Smith. The trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 23.

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