Judge delays Fowler trial in Jackson murder
by John Fleming
Editor at large
Oct 07, 2008 | 2444 views |  0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The murder trial of former Alabama state trooper James Bonard Fowler has been delayed, according to Circuit Judge Tommy Jones' office.

"That trial has been continued," an official with Jones' office said. "He hasn't set a date yet, but it should be next year sometime."

Fowler, 74, is charged with killing Jimmie Lee Jackson during a melee in a café in the Black Belt town of Marion in February 1965. Fowler says he did shoot Jackson, but maintains he shot him in self-defense.

The shooting proved a pivotal event during the Civil Rights Movement, leading to the Selma-to-Montgomery March, an event, most historians argue, that helped bring about the passage of the Voting Rights Act in August 1965.

The prosecutor in the case, District Attorney Michael Jackson, also said the case had been delayed.

Jackson explained that the trial was continued because the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals had yet to rule on Jackson's appeal asking to overturn a ruling by Judge Jones. The ruling orders Jackson to release to the defense information about witnesses. The court, Jackson said, gave the defense 14 days to respond, and that would have come too close to the opening of the trial, scheduled for Oct. 20.

"This is yet another delay," said Fowler's attorney George Beck, who went on to blame Jackson for the trial being put off and called Jackson's case into question.

"His case is weak, and he's embarrassed by it," Beck said.

Jackson responded by saying, "I see George Beck has started the spinning. I'm more than ready to go to trial. I've said that over and over again. We look forward to it. George knows we have a very strong case. We have witnesses, we have photographs. We have all kinds of evidence. He can't spin all of that, and he knows it won't change the fact that his client killed Jimmie Lee Jackson."
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Judge delays Fowler trial in Jackson murder by John Fleming
Editor at large

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