SHREVEPORT. La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Accused cop killer Grover Cannon was in Caddo District Court Monday, just three days before jury selection in his first-degree murder trial is set to begin in Baton Rouge.
Cannon is accused in the August 5, 2015 shooting death of Shreveport Police Officer Thomas LaValley.
Jury selection will begin for the second time on Thursday in Baton Rouge, due to a change of venue ordered in January due to pretrial publicity. That first jury selection, which began in March in Baton Rouge, was scrapped after three weeks due to irregularities found in the 19th Judicial District’s jury selection process.
Those issues have now been addressed, so the selection will begin anew later this week.
Monday, in a run-up before the entire courtroom entourage departs for Baton Rouge Wednesday, Judge Ramona Emanuel denied four defense motions, all prepared by Cannon, and argued by Dennis Moore of the Capital Defense Project, who are handling Cannon’s defense.
In the motions, Cannon asked Emanuel to throw out his first-degree murder indictment, and also pending charges of felon in possession of firearms, battery of a police officer and attempted second-degree murder because they had exceeded the “statute of limitations.”
Cannon claimed the cases should be quashed because the first-degree murder charge fell off the books in three years, and the others in two years.*
Although Emanuel asked Cannon if he wanted to argue his motions, Cannon deferred to Dennis Moore of the Capital Defense Project, who is on Cannon’s defense team.
Moore argued that throughout the past four years, only the first-degree murder charges were addressed in court.
But Assistant Caddo Parish District Attorney Ed Blewer noted each of the cases was “called” at each of Cannon’s court appearances, and said added that the time leading up to Cannon’s capital murder case were due to a “multitude of continuances” by the defense.
In ruling against the motions, Emanuel said she did so because they were “not based on law.”
In another pretrial “housekeeping” matter, Moore requested Emanuel to order that Cannon’s “papers” travel with him to Baton Rouge. Cannon has been helping prepare his defense in the law library at Caddo Correctional Center where he has been incarcerated since he was charged in LeValley’s murder and arrested on August 6, 2015.
Eight prosecution witnesses were subpoenaed to appear in court Monday, but only four showed up. Those witnesses, who will be asked to testify when the trial comes back to Shreveport after jury selection is complete, were sworn in.
The district attorney’s office will try to contact the additional four and ask them to come back to court Tuesday morning to be sworn in to testify in the trial, which is expected to be back in Shreveport in early November.
*In Louisiana, felonies punishable by death or life in prison never prescribe, and other felonies with sentences of hard labor have six years before reaching the statute of limitations.