State vs. Head Murder Case Sealed, Trial Continued
By Echo Menges
According to court documents, there will be a delay in Clark County Circuit Court case number 13CK-CR00026, the State of Missouri vs. Glenn Head, where the former St. Louis Metro Police Officer stands accused of murdering his neighbor, William “Bill” Bacon, in Knox County on December 11, 2012, due The Edina Sentinel’s publication of two provocative public documents, the “Defendant’s Motions In Limine” and the “State’s Responses To The Defendant’s Motions In Limine.”
Since the publication of information included in the documents in The Edina Sentinel and the full publication of both documents on the Sentinel’s website, nemonews.net, Judge Gary Dial, who is presiding over the case, has ordered the case sealed and has granted a continuance of the trial to the Defendant.
A court proceeding was scheduled for Tuesday, November 5, 2013, in which this reporter was subpoenaed to appear, but was notified late Monday afternoon by a representative of the James Law Group, which is defending Glenn Head in court, the proceeding had been cancelled after the prosecution and defense attorneys came to an agreement during a conference call with Judge Dial.
According to a court order since issued by Judge Dial, a continuance of the trail was issued by the Judge in the “Alternative” to a motion filed by the Defendant for another “Change of Venue” just days after the November 30, 2013, issue of the Sentinel was published.
The first “Change of Venue” in this case was granted in May of this year after both the Defense and Prosecution agreed to move the case from Knox County to Clark County Circuit Court.
In the order Judge Dial explains that, “The Court is aware that Defendant’s previously filed Motion in Limine was published verbatim in the Edina Sentinel newspaper and on an internet website shared jointly by the Edina Sentinel and the Kahoka Media newspaper. The publishing of a motion in limine or other motions and rulings prior to a criminal trial could potentially affect the Defendant’s right to a fair trial as guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution, particularly since the Motion in Limine has been sustained in part by this court.
“In entering this order, the Court is mindful of the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution granting individuals and entities access to criminal proceedings. However, that right must be balanced against a defendant’s right to a fair trail. As the United States Supreme Court has stated in Press-Enterprise Company v. Superior Court of California, 478 U.S. 1, 9 (1986). ‘Even when a right of access attaches, it is not absolute. While open criminal proceedings give assurances of fairness to both the public and the accused, there are some limited circumstances in which the right of the accused of a fair trial might be undermined by publicity. In such cases, the trial court must determine whether the situation is such that the rights of the accused override the qualified First Amendment right of access.’ Given the nature of the recent publicity afforded this case, the Court finds that the rights of the Defendant herein are paramount to and override qualified First Amendment right of access.
“Therefore this Court orders that, with the exception of the charging documents, all pleadings, motions or correspondence filed by any attorney of record or orders made by this Court shall be sealed by the Court, available only to the parties or upon specific court order until such time as the proceedings in this case are concluded. All court proceedings shall remain open to the public and all docket entries by the Court shall be available to the public.”
The murder trial was scheduled to begin this week, on Tuesday, November 12, 2013. The new trial dates have been scheduled for April 7 through 11, 2014.
According to the Clark County Circuit Clerk Kay Biggerstaff, the only court proceeding on the docket for this case at this time is the Jury Trial of Mr. Head.
The Edina Sentinel’s attempts to obtain Motions In Limine filed by the State along with the Defendants Responses to the State’s Motions In Limine have since been denied.
“At this time he is not going to allow that to be published,” stated a representative of Judge Dial on Friday afternoon, November 8, 2013.
Glenn Head, 59, of rural Novelty is facing a charge of murder in the second degree and a charge of armed criminal action. In the American criminal justice system defendants are, of course, presumed innocent until proven guilty. According to a past exclusive interview granted by Head’s attorney, Charlie James, to the Sentinel, the defense will argue that Glenn Head shot Bill Bacon in self defense and that he was in fear for his life.
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