OPELIKA, Ala. (WRBL) – Law Enforcement officers are being asked to wear plain clothes and not their uniforms if they attend the February 6th Capital Murder trial for a man accused of killing an Auburn Police Officer.
Tuesday, inside the Lee County Justice Center, a status hearing was held in the Capital Murder case involving Auburn Police Officer William Buechner, a 37-year-old husband and father of two who served as a peace officer for 13 years.
Defendant 32-year-old Grady Wilkes is set to go on trial in two weeks. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
During Tuesday’s hearing we learned the defense filed a motion asking law enforcement who attend the trial to do so in plain clothes and not their uniforms to avoid any possibility of influencing the jury. The officers who were wounded can wear their uniforms. An overflow room should be available for officers who need to be in uniform for a shift.
The trial could last three weeks or more.
Prosecutors say on May 19, 2019, Auburn officers met with a female victim who reported her live-in boyfriend and child’s father, Grady Wilkes, had choked her and threatened to kill her. The woman had run away from the mobile home where the couple lived off Wire Road and had met with responding officers near the front of the Arrowhead mobile home community. Prosecutors say when officers knocked on the door of the home, Wilkes answered wearing body armor and immediately began firing at the officers. Wilkes was allegedly armed with an AR-15. Officer Buechner, Officer Webb Sistrunk, and Officer Evan Elliott were all struck by gunfire, another officer escaped without injury.
Officer Buechner, Officer Webb Sistrunk, and Officer Evan Elliott were all struck by gunfire, another officer escaped without injury.
Wilkes was arrested some nine hours later about a mile away from the scene of the shooting. Wilkes was in the Army National Guard. Police say they had no prior contact with Wilkes.
Buechner’s murder marked the darkest day in Auburn Public safety history as he was the first officer killed in the line of duty in the department’s history.
The officer’s family and APD have waited three years and eight months for his accused killer to be judged by a jury
WRBL will cover the trial.