Covering Louisiana

Sep 3, 2013 4:50 AM by AP/CS

New trial sought for Baton Rouge cop killer

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - A man sentenced to death for killing a Baton Rouge police officer in 2004 is seeking a new trial.

Shedran Williams' attorney, Gary Clements, argued in a court filing last week that his 42-year-old client is mentally disabled. Clements also claimed Williams' conviction was tainted by shoddy work by his trial attorneys and racial bias during the jury selection process.

The Advocate reports that state District Judge Mike Erwin has given prosecutors until mid-January to respond to Clements' arguments.

Williams was convicted of first-degree murder for fatally shooting Lt. Vickie Wax with her own firearm while she was working a security detail at a Wal-Mart in Baton Rouge.

In his 122-page petition, Clements claims Williams had been mentally incompetent to stand trial. He also claimed his client's trial lawyers failed to effectively represent him at every stage of the proceedings.

"The result was a tepid challenge to the State's case for guilt, and an anemic, ill-conceived effort to save Mr. Williams from the death sentence in the penalty phase," Clements wrote.

Clements also noted that the jury only had two black members. Williams is black. Wax was white.

A prosecutor declined to comment on Clements' allegations.

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