PRATTVILLE, Ala. (WSFA) - Judge Bill Lewis will soon rule on whether the capital murder trial of Keon Cain, charged in the 2017 barbershop murders, should be moved to another venue.
Cain is indicted on capital murder counts for the deaths of Eddie Scott, Anthony Smith, and Al Benson at a Prattville barbershop in July 2017. The state is seeking the death penalty.
Cain’s attorneys argued the media coverage of the murders and the subsequent arrests saturated headlines and airways with sensational stories and articles.
“From the time of the murders going into today this matter has been prevalent is the news and remains in the news,” stated Cain’s defense attorney Carlton Taylor.
The state denied those claims. Prosecutor Josh Cochrane read aloud three headlines the defense listed as problematic, stating all were factual and weren’t sensational.
“The words, ‘suspect’ and ‘alleged’ were used - nothing suggests the defendant is guilty,” said Cochrane. “Just because we’ve had media accounts published, they may even detail heinous crimes that have been committed - that itself isn’t enough to meet the burden for a change of venue.”
Cochrane argued the jury selection process would give them ample opportunity to identify any bias.
The defense listed multiple links from WSFA 12 News and Montgomery Advertiser as examples of articles that have prejudiced the potential jury pool in Autauga County.
Judge Lewis told the defense he had read all their stories and asked specifically what information was sensational and incorrect.
“I find the reporting has been reasonably responsible,” Lewis stated.
Taylor asked Lewis for 14 days to submit hard copies of the articles in question, which was granted.
“There’s just so much in these articles no jury trial should have access to,” Taylor said.
Lewis is expected to rule on the motion shortly after receiving the articles.
The state is seeking the death penalty in this case which is slated for late July.
Cain’s co-defendant Marty Morgan pleaded guilty to one count of capital murder in April.