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Gag Order in Man’s Grisly Slaying

April 9, 1998

INDEPENDENCE, Va. (AP) _ A judge issued a gag order Thursday in the case of two white men accused of burning a black man alive and beheading him.

Prosecutors and attorneys for the men charged with the July 25 slaying of Garnett Johnson must confine their comments about the case to the courtroom, Judge Colin Campbell ruled.

The gag order was sought by Jimmy Turk, the lawyer for Louis Ceparano, who is charged with capital murder and could be sentenced to death if found guilty.

Turk argued that news stories about the case, based largely on comments from attorneys, was making it impossible for Ceparano to receive a fair trial.

Turk also argued that attorneys representing co-defendant Emmett Cressell have made misleading statements about the case to the media.

Cressell, who is charged with first-degree murder, was freed on bond last month after agreeing to testify against Ceparano. If convicted, he could be sentenced to life in prison.

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