Originally published on Advocate.com August 28 2004 12:00 AM ET
An Alabama state judge said Friday he does not plan to seal the record or bar the public from court proceedings in the capital murder case against three young defendants in the killing of a gay teenager. District judge Jody W. Bishop also delayed a decision on a defense request for a gag order that would prohibit attorneys, court officials, and law enforcement officials from making public comments about the case.
Bishop held a hearing on the secrecy and gag order issues after the three defendants waived a preliminary hearing, sending the case to a grand jury for possible indictments. Robert Porter, 18; Christopher Ryan Gaines, 20; and Gaines's girlfriend, Nichole Kelsay, 18, are charged in the July 18 killing of 18-year-old Scotty Joe Weaver.
Porter's lawyer, William Pfeifer, had asked the judge to close all pretrial hearings to news media and limit comment by police, prosecutors, witnesses, and court officials. Pfeifer also requested that "all records and transcripts" be sealed until a jury is seated or after trial and that use of video or other cameras be prohibited during the proceedings. The judge said from the bench that he did not plan to keep the public from seeing the case record or observing court proceedings. He withheld any immediate
decision on the gag order.