- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 30, 2015

HAHNVILLE, La. (AP) - The man charged with shooting a St. Charles Parish deputy sheriff in April will stand trial March 1.

Judge Emile St. Pierre of the 29th Judicial District Court set the trial date for 58-year-old John Paul Devillier during a hearing Tuesday, according to a report from NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune (https://bit.ly/1OFqCRK).

Police have charged Devillier with attempted first-degree murder of 36-year-old Cpl. Burt Hazeltine, two counts of battery of a peace officer and resisting an officer by force. He has pleaded innocent and innocent by reason of insanity.

Authorities believe Devillier became enraged after the deputy refused to stop traffic for him on busy U.S. Highway 90, the report said. Hazeltine was working a school traffic detail and was shot in the face, chest and elbow. He has since recovered.

Devillier’s attorney, Wendy Williams, asked to move court proceedings to a different parish, citing pre-trial publicity that may make it difficult to assemble an impartial jury. St. Pierre said he would not rule on Williams’ request until the trial date.

Williams also asked the judge for a bifurcated trial. That would have had Devillier facing two juries.

Williams said in her motion that at the time of the shooting, Devillier was “incapable of distinguishing between right and wrong because of mental disease and or mental defect. As such, he is exempt from criminal responsibility.” She argued that a “unified trial” would be unfair to Devillier and put an undue burden on a single jury to separate the issues of his mental state at the time of the crime and whether he’s guilty of the charges.

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Information from: The Times-Picayune, https://www.nola.com


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