BROOKHAVEN, Miss. (WLBT) - Accused cop killer Marquis Flowers was granted a change of venue Thursday for his upcoming trial in Lincoln County.
Flowers is charged in the shooting deaths of Brookhaven Police officer James White and Cpl. Zach Moak. Moak and White were fatally shot in late September 2018 responding to an early morning call of shots fired in the area. Flowers was arrested shortly afterward.
“A change of venue is a motion filed by the defense: It’s to insure the jury is not a biased jury because of emotions via family connections or just the setting or what happened during that time period here in Lincoln County,” said District Attorney Dee Bates.
McKenzie granted the defense’s motion. The next decision will be where the jury pool will come from.
“But I would think if we could start somewhere maybe in more northern counties we could get closer to finding a jury that has not been exposed to any of the alleged facts in this case,” McKenzie said.
And once the county is picked, do the jurors come to Lincoln County to sequester, or does Lincoln County go to the jurors? Could it be harder to make a decision in the hometown of the two slain officers? What are the considerations?
“One of the big things for us is it’s more convenient for the family of the victims being able to be there. The other thing is the cost on the county to house these potential witnesses we’d have to take,” Bates said.
Lincoln County has done both. In 2007, the entire murder trial of Michael Leggett was taken to Hattiesburg. Earlier this year, Cory Godbolt stood trial in front of a jury brought in from DeSoto County.
“They were brought here from Desoto County, so we had to go get them, we had to spend time up there to load them up and bring them down and then stay with them,” said Sheriff Steve Rushing. “Versus the other case we had when we went with the whole group over there.”
Flowers’ next hearing will be January 26th, 2021.