Covering Louisiana

Nov 29, 2012 1:25 PM by AP

Jury in murder trial to come from Ouachita Parish

RAYVILLE, La. (AP) - A state judge ruled that the trial of two men accused of the first-degree murder of Rayville Police Sgt. Thomas Alexander in 2010 will remain in Richland Parish, but the jury will be chosen from Ouachita Parish.

The News-Star reports Judge Terry Doughty ordered Wednesday the change of venue for jury selection because of the high profile of the case. The defense objected, saying Ouachita Parish remained within the media footprint of the crime.

Anthony D. Oatis and Richard L. Long are charged in death of Alexander.

Doughty set the trial date for Aug. 12, although 5th District Attorney Mack Lancaster said he will ask for separate trials for the accused.

A third man charged in the crime, Robert Walker, of Rayville, pleaded guilty in 2011 to second-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

The prosecution believes Long was the shooter.

Alexander was shot and killed on Sept. 11, 2010, while responding to a burglary-in-progress call in Richland Parish. He answered the call even though the house was outside city limits.

After making sure Frances Coenen, the resident who was home alone when the burglary happened, was safe, Alexander entered the home and was shot while approaching a closet.

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