Legal proceedings against the man charged with fatally shooting a Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office K-9 will remain in 3rd Judicial District Court here.
Ruston Leader on Wed, 01/09/2019 - 9:11am
District Judge Jeff Robinson on Tuesday denied a change of venue request filed by the attorney for Vincent D. Roberson, saying news coverage of the dog’s death did not show undue influence against Roberson.
Roberson, 58, of Monroe, is charged with aggravated cruelty to an animal in the Aug. 17 death of K-9 Sgt. Boco during a manhunt in the Chandler Road area.
Roberson’s attorney, Kevin Seal, claimed media coverage surrounding the event was so pervasive the Roberson couldn’t get a fair trial in Lincoln Parish. Seal cited stories in the Ruston Daily Leader and posts on Facebook as evidence of what he called “widespread coverage for a long time.”
“The defense feels Mr. Roberson cannot get a fair trial in this venue,” Seal said.
Lewis Jones, chief felony prosecutor for the 3rd Judicial District, disagreed.
“Just because there’s been publicity doesn’t mean he gets a change of venue,” Jones said.
He said the news accounts Seal referenced were published in late August, just over four months ago.
“The defense has offered nothing to show there has been any publicity since then,” Jones said.
No trial date has been set for Roberson. The earliest the case could go to trial is April, Jones said. A scheduling conference in the case is set for 9 a.m. Feb. 5.
Roberson, clad in a dark green Ouachita Correction Center jumpsuit, said nothing during the brief hearing. He’s being held in the Ouachita facility because of overcrowding at the Lincoln Parish Detention Center. He could be sentenced for up to 10 years in jail if he’s convicted on the cruelty charge.