Judge Forces Prosecutors To Hand Over More Documents In Post-Katrina Bridge Shooting Case

Thursday, March 29th 2007, 6:04 pm
By: News On 6

NEW ORLEANS (AP) _ A judge agreed Thursday with a demand by seven police officers charged in killings in the days after Hurricane Katrina that prosecutors turn over more evidence from the grand jury that indicted them.

Lawyers for the officers said documents provided last week do not show how grand jurors concluded the officers charged were at the Danziger Bridge, where two men were fatally shot and four were wounded.

Police said the indicted officers came under fire when they responded to a report of other officers being attacked.

Defense lawyers claim portions of grand jury testimony that prosecutors made available only after a court order lack details such as exact times and locations of the shootings.

There was no police lineup or other identification procedure for witnesses, ``yet we stand here with specific officers indicted,'' said Eric Hessler, who represents Sgt. Robert Gisevius Jr.

Three of the officers want the information to bolster their motion to have their charges thrown out, which state District Judge Raymond Bigelow could do after viewing the additional evidence.

Bigelow gave prosecutors until Tuesday to decide whether to turn over the documents to him or make them available to all attorneys in the case.

Prosecutors declined comment on Thursday's developments.

Ronald Madison, a 40-year-old mentally retarded man, and 19-year-old James Brissette, were killed at the bridge.

Gisevius, Sgt. Kenneth Bowen, Officer Anthony Villavaso II and former Officer Robert Faulcon Jr. face first-degree murder charges and attempted murder charges. Officers Mike Hunter Jr. and Robert Barrios are charged with attempted first-degree murder, and Officer Ignatius Hills is charged with attempted second-degree murder.