Man convicted of first-degree murder in 2010 back in court for a new trial

Sean Newton was back in Lake Charles on Friday trying to get a new trial.

Man convicted of first-degree murder in 2010 wants new trial

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - The community was stunned in 2010 when 14-year-old Alexus Rankins was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting near Dixie Drive and Creole Street.

Sean Newton was convicted of first-degree murder in 2011, but now he’s back in court saying his trial was not fair.

Attorney Paul Barker of New Orleans said the state failed to turn over information the defense was entitled to have.

“There’s a report, 27 pages of a 44-page supplemental report that includes a plethora of information,” Barker said. “About witnesses, names, whether or not they think this person may have done it, the color of the car might have been, varying from descriptions that were given.”

Contrary to Barker, Assistant D.A. Ross Murray said the state did provide everything required by law.

“We withheld zero information that would have helped Sean Newton be acquitted,” Murray said. “Everything that they claim they were entitled to, we provided to them. Everything the law said they were entitled to, we provided to them, and even more so we provided to them, gave them access to it.”

Whether Newton is the one who shot and killed the teen as she stood in a crowd of others is not the issue, according to Barker.

“I’m not speaking to whether he did it, I’m not even considering that," Barker said. “What I’m saying is that whether the constitutional guarantees, which are extremely important, whether or not the constitution was upheld at trial is extremely important.”

Murray said there’s no doubt Newton murdered Rankins.

“All of the evidence showed Sean Newton was the shooter, (Newton) was the murderer,” he said.

The hearing on Friday will resume another day, yet to be announced. For now, Newton continues to serve life in prison.

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