Marin judge rejects barring reporters in murder case https://t.co/tjrn3nQWzn— SFGate (@SFGate) September 13, 2016
Two of the young drifters charged in the murders of two people in the Bay Area last October will have their preliminary hearing next week Marin Superior Court, and despite a motion vigorously presented by defense attorneys to bar cameras or the media from the courtroom at the hearing, a judge has reluctantly dismissed that saying the media has a right to be present.
According to the Examiner, Superior Court Judge Kelly Vieira Simmons said in court Monday, "Nobody really likes the media, and it is disruptive. It’s nerve-wracking. On the other hand, they have a right to be here."
An attorney representing The SF Chronicle and the Marin Independent Journal argued before the court that the media needed to be granted access in part because the family of one of the victims, 23-year-old backpacker Audrey Carey, lives in Canada and may not be able to attend the trial.
A defense attorney argued that statements given to police by one of the co-defendants, 19-year-old Lila Scott Alligood, which have not been made public, will be discussed at the hearing and could prejudice the public against his client, 24-year-old Morrison Haze Lampley. As the Chronicle reports, Chief Deputy Public Defender David Brown argued that Alligood's statements won't be admissible in the pair's eventual trial unless Alligood chooses to testify.
It remains to be seen if further restrictions on the media's presence may be made, but Judge Simmons said she would, for now, limit still cameras to only the first day of the hearing, and studio and video recording devices to just the first 15 minutes of the hearing.
Per the Chronicle reports, prosecutors have alleged that Lampley was the triggerman in the killing of the trio's second victim, 67-year-old yoga instructor Steve Carter, whom they reportedly encountered on a Marin County hiking trail on October 5, 2015, and whose car they allegedly subsequently stole to escape to Oregon.
It's unclear who may have fired the fatal shot that killed Carey, but she was found tied up with signs of trauma to her head and face in Golden Gate Park on October 3, after she had apparently attended the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival.
The third accomplice in the alleged killings, Sean Angold, pleaded guilty in May to second-degree murder in exchange for becoming a witness to the prosecution, presumably.
Per the Chron: "The defendants, who have all grown shaggy, moplike coifs since their first court appearance when they sported buzz cuts, said nothing and sat calmly during the proceeding, which lasted more than an hour."
A photo appears to show Alligood wiping away a tear.
The preliminary hearing is set to begin September 20.
Previously: No Death Penalty Sought In Case Of Alleged Drug-Addled Drifter Murderers