Witness Shot, Trial in Judge Slaying Delayed
HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) _ The federal trial of four people charged with conspiracy in the killing of a state judge was delayed Monday because a witness due to testify had been shot.
Ex-convict Roy Garland was wounded in New Orleans during the weekend in an apparent domestic quarrel that had nothing to do with the trial, U.S. District Judge Charles Pickering Sr. said. Pickering recessed the trial for a day.
Harrison County Circuit Judge Vincent Sherry and his wife, former Biloxi Council member Margaret Sherry, were shot to death in their North Biloxi home on Sept. 14, 1987.
On trial are striptease lounge owner Mike Gillich Jr., Georgia prisoner John Ransom, Louisiana prisoner Kirksey McCord Nix Jr., and Sheri LaRa Sharpe of St. Francisville, La. They were charged with conspiring to scam money from homosexuals and conspiring to kill Sherry. The indictment made no mention of his wife’s killing.
Garland, who recently pleaded guilty to his part in the mail-order scam while at the Louisiana state prison in Angola, had been expected to testify about his actions with Nix.
Federal prosecutors contend that the murder conspiracy arose from the inmate scam.
Garland was in guarded condition late Monday at Charity Hospital in New Orleans. He was shot in the face with a shotgun Sunday morning in Montz, La., said Capt. Sam Zinna of the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office. Authorities were searching for a suspect, Zinna said.
After the shooting, Gillich’s attorney, Albert Necaise, asked the judge to declare a mistrial, or at least separate Gillich’s case from the others. Pickering refuse, saying prosecutors are certain Garland’s shooting was unrelated to the trial.
If convicted, the four defendants could be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison and fined up to $1.1 million.