Jury selection in the case is scheduled to resume on Friday after being continued this past Monday.
Before jury selection began Earles on June 23 had disposed of a number of pre-trial motions.
One of those was the defense request that the state reveal what deal it had made with any witness. The state certified no such deals are on the table.
Not said, but clearly of concern to the defense was that the state had allegedly reached a deal with Michael Hayes, the inmate who Prince allegedly told details of the womens’ murders.
According to a now-sealed file, Prince allegedly told Hayes, a fellow inmate in Allen Correctional Center, that he killed the women before burning their house.
The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal ruled in April that what Prince told Hayes after Hayes became an “agent of the state” is inadmissible at trial.
“Testimony of detectives indicated Prince had previously invoked (against self incrimination) yet detectives instructed Hayes to elicit information while using electronic surveillance equipment,” the court ruled.
What Hayes told them before he was wired is admissible, according to the ruling.
On Monday, the defense moved bar the death penalty in the case because, it claimed, the prosecution’s case is built on “jailhouse snitch” testimony that won’t pass appeals scrutiny if there is a conviction.”
The state responded that the Legislature gives the District Attorney sole discretion on whether to seek the death penalty and that it considered the motion a frivolous one.
Earles denied the death penalty exclusion motion.
On June 23 he had ordered sealed a letter to the District Attorney’s Office regarding Hayes.
Other matters dealt with that day by Earles included:
the court informed both sides statement there will be no acknowledgement to the jury that the prosecutor had had any previous relationship with Prince;
the court delayed until trial a ruling on a motion to preclude disqualification from jury duty of any pardoned first offenders;
the court denied a defense motion to declare part of the La. Code of Criminal Procedure unconstitutional, or at least authorize a non-unanimous verdict on an acquittal or on a lesser charge;
the court denied a motion for transcript of all grand jury proceedings, noting an in camera (in chambers) inspection had already been done;
the court denied a motion to quash Prince’s indictment or to prevent greater-than-life sentence;
the court heard an objection to proposed victims’ impact statements and sealed them;
in response to a motion for notice of photographs and images the state intended to introduce at trial, the court, the state and the defense pared a long list to those which will be used.
The defense filed a motion April 6 seeking to preclude from evidence presented at trial photos it considers “unduly prejudicial.”
Those are photos showing the charred remains of the victims, which the defense claims are inflammatory and appeal to the passions and prejudices of the jury, which it says is constitutionally prohibited.