Bond lowered to $20,000 for man accused of downtown murder, assistant district attorney suspended

Joey Julian is accused of a murder in downtown Lake Charles in 2017.
Joey Julian is accused of a murder in downtown Lake Charles in 2017.(KPLC)
Updated: Feb. 18, 2020 at 11:55 AM CST
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - A man accused of murder in downtown Lake Charles in 2017 will likely be out on bond this week and an assistant district attorney has been suspended from the Calcasieu District Attorney’s Office. That’s all in connection with the Joey Julian case and pre-trial issues that were to be hashed out Tuesday morning.

Joey Julian is accused of murder and other charges in the shooting death of Ernest Samuel Miller at the intersection of Mill and Ryan streets in November 2017.

Late last week, assistant district attorney Jason Brown brought a motion to continue a contempt hearing to Judge Ron Ware. However, he did not include that the defense was extremely opposed to any delay. That’s because the defense did not want to upset an April 20th trial date. Defense attorneys say Julian has been in jail more than a year and wants his day in court.

Brown, who was not present Tuesday, was indefinitely suspended on Saturday from the Calcasieu by District Attorney’s Office because of his handling of the continuance motion.

Judge Ron Ware says he was "irate" to find that he had been misled about the state's request for a continuance and that Julian deserves due process.

Ware reduced Joey Julian’s bond to $20,000 on all three charges: second-degree murder, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and theft of a motor vehicle.

Miller's father and sister got up and walked out of the courtroom when Ware reduced Julian's bond.

Defense attorneys Todd Clemons and Adam Johnson agree Ware did the right thing when he lowered Julian’s bond and said he’ll be out soon.

“We feel very strongly our client acted in self-defense and once we raise that defense the state has the burden of proving that he did not act in self defense. They won’t be able to make that burden,” said Clemons.

“We don’t feel like Joey Julian is a dangerous person, at all,” said Clemons.

They also support the suspension of Brown. Johnson called Brown’s failure to include the defense’s objection to a continuance was “reprehensible.”

The family of the man killed, Ernest Miller, is extremely upset that Julian will likely soon be out on bond.

“I feel like he’s going to be out walking in less than a couple of hours. This is injustice to us because he got a chance to visit his family, touch them, talk to them and we don’t have this. This is why we need justice done for us,” said Ernest Miller’s father, Larry Miller.

The dead man’s niece, Kiara Ceaser, was in tears as she spoke of her uncle.

“He was like that second father, when my dad wasn’t around, he was the uncle who didn’t have kids so we were like his kids. All of us,” said Ceaser.

District Attorney John DeRosier disagrees withlowering Julian’s bond for a number of reasons.

“Absolutely dangerous for him to be out on the street. We’re charging him with murder,” said DeRosier.

The district attorney also believes there’s danger of Julian fleeing.

“Would you be a flight risk if the judge turned you loose two months before your murder trial? I suggest you would be a flight risk,” said DeRosier.

The defense disputes that saying Julian has nothing to hide, no reason to run and will be at each court proceeding on time. As well, Ware warned him he had better not miss a court proceeding.

Meanwhile, issues still to be resolved include whether Brown and now retired assistant D.A. Cynthia Killingsworth should be held in contempt for allegedly not giving the defense all the information they were required to. That is an allegation Brown and Killingsworth strongly deny.

The contempt hearing and other motions will be held March 25. Julian’s trial is set for April 20.

Though Julian is expected to make bond soon, the jail has a detainer on him for Baton Rouge-- which means Julian will be taken to Baton Rouge first to resolve why they want him. Clemons says the contempt of court detainer is a bench warrant (not showing up for court) and will be quickly resolved so he can be released.

We will report Julian’s release from jail, once it happens.

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