According to an attorney for one of the suspects, there has been "widespread sensationalized and inflammatory speculation" surrounding the Dadeville Sweet 16 party shooting.
Court-appointed attorney Anna Parker represents Wilson Lamar Hill, Jr., 20, of Auburn. Hill is one of the six suspects facing four reckless murder charges for the April 15 shooting.
Parker filed a motion Sunday to seal the court file and close pretrial proceedings in the case to protect her client and give him the right to a fair trial. She claimed that because of the national attention the case has gotten, jurors could be prejudiced against Hill if the media can cover the case in pretrial and have access to information that may be deemed inadmissible in a court of law.
"The probability that pretrial publicity will prejudice the Defendant is so substantial that closure of pretrial proceedings is the only measure that will adequately protect the Defendant's rights to due process and a fair trial by an impartial jury," the motion stated … "[o]nce the damage is done by admitting the media into pretrial hearings, it cannot be undone. Due to the rampant attention to this case at the local, state, national, and international levels and the high risk of prejudicial and inflammatory publicity, the Defendant's Sixth Amendment rights are in considerable jeopardy and outweigh any media claim to access."
Parker requested transcripts of the closed proceedings be sealed until a jury is seated.
Four people were killed in the shooting at the Mahogany Masterpiece Dance Studio. Thirty-two others were injured.
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Those killed were identified as Shaunkivia Nicole Smith, 17, of Dadeville, Marsiah Emmanuel Collins, 19, of Opelika, Corbin Dahmontrey Holston, 23, of Dadeville, and Philstavious Dowdell, 18, of Camp Hill.
Along with Hill, five others are charged with four counts of reckless murder: Ty Reik McCullough, 17, of Tuskegee, Travis McCullough, 16, of Tuskegee, Johnny Letron Brown, 20, of Tuskegee, and Willie George Brown Jr., 19, of Auburn and a 15-year-old who has not been identified.
Hill is scheduled for an Aniah's Law hearing Tuesday. A preliminary hearing in the case is set for May 23.
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