A week after 5-year-old Kamarie Holland was brutally murdered, Russell County judge keeps gag order in place

Crime

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — A week after he was arrested for the murder of 5-year-old Kamarie Holland, Jeremy Williams was back in a Russell County courtroom Monday afternoon.

The issue is a gag order that Circuit Court Judge David Johnson issued last week. It prevents anyone involved in the case—from law enforcement to potential witnesses—from commenting publicly on evidence in the case.

Johnson is trying to thread a needle between the public’s right to know and the defendant’s right to a fair trial.

Right now, Johnson is going to keep a lid on the evidence.

Jeremy Williams was brought into court Monday afternoon as his attorney and the District Attorney’s Office fought over a gag order Judge Johnson put in place.

Williams is facing the death penalty if convicted of Holland’s murder. After a missing persons report was filed by Kamarie’s mother, the little girl’s body was found last Monday in an abandoned Phenix City home where Williams once lived.

Williams is being represented by Attorney Chuck Floyd. He argued if the gag order was lifted, a fair trial would be unlikely.

Chief Assistant Russell County DA Rick Chancey expressed concern about false information appearing on social media platforms. Chancey says the sheriff and DA do not have a way to counter the misinformation.

“We tried to ask that it be lessened for our ability to speak broadly and get a little clarification on that,” Chancey said after the hearing. “The clarification I took from the court’s order is that the order is going to stand. And we are better off not talking than we are talking. I don’t want to violate the court’s order.”

Chuck Floyd was careful in his words when asked if it was a win for his client.

“It was a win for judicial system I think – legal system,” Floyd said.

Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor was also careful during an interview after the hearing.

“The investigation still stands as a capital murder investigation against Mr. Williams for the murder of the 5-year-old,” Taylor said. “I can’t get into where we stand with the evidence. And that’s clear and I won’t violate the judge’s order.”

Last week, Williams told the court he did not want an attorney, and Floyd was appointed to advise him. Monday, Williams told the judge he had reconsidered and Johnson appointed Floyd as the defense attorney.

Johnson made a point of saying to he was not limiting “legitimate media coverage.”

The judge pointed out that the Ledger-Enquirer and WRBL were in the courtroom for today’s hearing.

Kamarie Holland’s funeral will be Wednesday morning at Taylor Funeral Home in Phenix City. Public visitation is also at Taylor Funeral Home tomorrow from 3-5 p.m.

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