Sep 30, 2010 11:04 AM by Nichole Larkey
ST. FRANCISVILLE, La. (AP) - West Feliciana Parish officials say a new judge has been assigned to preside over the trials of five inmates accused of killing a security officer during an escape attempt in December 1999.
An order signed earlier this week by state Supreme Court Chief Justice Catherine D. Kimball names retired Orleans Parish Judge Jerome M. Winsberg to hear the cases, West Feliciana Clerk of Court Felicia Hendl said.
The order also terminates the appointment of retired Judge Dennis J. Waldron to hear the cases.
Waldron held pretrial hearings involving all five defendants this year and was presiding over the first-degree murder trial of Jeffrey Cameron Clark in St. Francisville when it ended in a mistrial in July.
Waldron announced at an Aug. 13 hearing that he was asking the high court to relieve him of his appointment because of a family medical matter.
Clark, 50, and inmates David Mathis, 34; Robert G. Carley, 42; Barry S. Edge, 50; and David Brown, 37, are accused of first-degree murder in the stabbing and beating death of security Capt. David C. Knapps, 49, in the educational building of Angola's Camp D.
The state is seeking the death penalty against the five. The Supreme Court last year ordered that juries be chosen in St. Tammany Parish for trials in West Feliciana Parish.
Assistant district attorneys from Jefferson and Caddo parishes are prosecuting the case. The inmates are defended by attorneys from New Orleans and the Baton Rouge area.
Winsberg has a home in The Bluffs on Thompson Creek in West Feliciana Parish.
He presided over the 2007 St. Francisville trial of St. Bernard Parish nursing home operators Salvador and Mabel Mangano, who were acquitted of negligent homicide and other charges in the deaths of 35 patients in Hurricane Katrina's flooding.