Originally created 12/09/96

Court TV to broadcast Mathis trial

AIKEN - Court TV plans to cover the trial of an Aiken man accused in the 1995 killing of a carnival worker employed with the Aiken County Jaycees Fair.

Jury selection in the murder trial of Troy Mathis is scheduled to begin today at 10 a.m.

Court TV anticipates going live at 1:30 p.m. However, Sheilagh McGee, executive editor of the program, said the exact time depends on how quickly jury selection is completed.

The coverage can be viewed on cable channel 17 in Aiken. Ms. McGee said Court TV looks at about 15-20 cases a week before deciding which ones to cover.

"We liked (this case) because there seemed to be good tension," she said. "It's not cut and dried and there's a legal issue involved."

Mr. Mathis, 22, was arrested and charged on Oct. 27, 1995, in the shooting death of Jerry James Brown, 32, of Albion, Mich., who was in town as a carnival worker for the annual county fair.

Mr. Mathis has been denied bond twice, and has been held in the Aiken County Detention Center since his arrest.

Aiken County Public Defender Regina Poteat, who represents Mr. Mathis, filed a motion Friday to dismiss charges against her client. She said the motion is based on the failure of police to notify her that a witness had cleared Mr. Mathis as a suspect when shown a photo lineup.

The public defender's office learned last month that a witness, James Dale Jr. of Florida, was shown two photo lineups Oct. 22, 1995, by Detective Morris Deason of the Aiken Department of Public Safety. In her dismissal motion, Ms. Poteat said the detective revealed that Mr. Dale positively said Mr. Mathis and two other people included in the first lineup weren't the shooter.

"No copies of the lineup were kept nor were any record kept of any of which individuals were placed in the lineup," the motion states. Ms. Poteat argued that a crucial piece of evidence proving her client is innocent can't be re-created for jurors to see.

The state's failure to disclose the information and then destroying the lineup merits a dismissal for violation of Mr. Mathis' constitutional rights, Ms. Poteat's motion states.

Circuit Judge Henry Floyd, who will preside at the trial, is expected to hear Ms. Poteat's motion as well as others related to trial evidence today.

Chief Administrative Judge Rodney Peeples granted a speedy trial motion filed by Ms. Poteat on Oct. 28. He ordered 2nd Circuit Solicitor Barbara Morgan to take the case to trial during the two-week court term which began Sunday or release Mr. Mathis on a personal recognizance bond.


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