Murder trial halted after witness evidence questioned

by Brandon Richards bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC-TV) – The trial of Israel Michael Beverly, who is charged with second-degree murder for the October 2009 shooting death of 32-year-old Nicholas Fuselier, came to a halt on day four, after testimony from one of the key witnesses was called into question.

On Thursday, Calcasieu Parish Judge Kent Savoie asked the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals to review the matter after the defense said it had not been presented with some evidence before the trial started, in particular, a video-taped statement that one of the witnesses, Steven Landry, gave to authorities.

Landry and Beverly were cellmates at the Calcasieu Correctional Center in the fall of 2009, shortly after Beverly was arrested. Landry apparently gave authorities a statement about a conversation he had with Beverly about the Fuselier murder.

The defense, who watched the Landry statement for the first time during a recess on Thursday, said it could not properly prepare for trial when such evidence had been withheld.

Though he will wait for an official opinion from the 3rd Circuit before moving forward, Judge Savoie said he was leaning toward striking, or ordering the jury to disregard, the testimony of Landry, who is currently in jail because of a contempt of court charge.

The trial will resume at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, after the 3rd Circuit has rendered an opinion about the Landry matter.

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