An emergency hearing requesting a continuance of the capital murder trial of Brian Horn, charged with the 2010 kidnapping and murder of 12-year-old Justin Bloxom of Stonewall was derailed today when the judge learned the expert report on new fingerprint evidence won’t be available until late Thursday.
The hearing is now reset for 10 a.m. Monday in DeSoto Parish District Court,
District Judge Robert Burgess delayed today’s hearing until the expert report on the new evidence can be read by the prosecution and the defense, as well as himself. But he emphasized he was “granting a delay, not a continuance,” adding he was not in a position to rule on a continuance until he saw the report.
But Burgess was clear that he was not interested in moving the trial date unless absolutely necessary, and even if he did grant a continuance, it would be no longer than six weeks.
Jury selection is now scheduled to begin on Feb. 10 in East Baton Rouge District Court. The selection process was moved to East Baton Rouge Parish due to the extensive media coverage of the crime in north Louisiana. After the 12 jurors and alternates are selected, the entire jury panel will be transported to DeSoto Parish and be sequestered there until a verdict is reached.
A number of trial dates have come and gone in the almost four years since Horn was arrested and charged with first degree murder in Justin’s death.
Two lead defense attorneys from the Capital Assistance Project of Louisiana (CAPOLA) have resigned, and Shreveport defense attorney Daryl Gold is now sitting first chair in the death penalty case; two mitigation experts have quit and a third one is now employed on the case.
(A mitigation expert is on a capital murder defense team is responsible for finding mitigating circumstances in a defendant’s life that might convince a jury to impose a life sentence rather than the death penalty, should the defendant be convicted.)
There also have been motions filed on which Burgess has had to hold hearings and rule on, writs filed with the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, and scheduling issues with various experts and law enforcement agencies.