Court hears ex-officers appeals in Glover police shooting

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wwltv.com

Posted on July 11, 2012 at 10:43 AM

Updated Monday, Dec 17 at 12:19 PM

Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
Email: pmurphy@wwltv.com | Twitter: @pmurphywwl

NEW ORLEANS -- A three-judge panel is now considering appeals in the Henry Glover police shooting and cover-up.

Wednesday morning, it was standing room only at the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

A prosecutor and attorneys for three former NOPD officers, convicted in the now infamous post-Katrina police shooting of the 31-year-old Glover filed into court for oral arguments.

Glover's aunt Rebecca said the convictions should stand.

"They did the crime, let them do the time," said Glover who attended the hearing. "That's the way I feel about it."

Attorneys for David Warren, convicted of shooting Glover without justification outside an Algiers strip mall, made two appeal points.

They argued that manslaughter should not have been an option for the jury that convicted Warren on civil rights charges.

"You can't have a civil rights violation," said Julian Murray. "It's an intentional thing, a per-meditated thing to take somebody's civil rights. You can't do it as a manslaughter."

Prosecutor Holly Thomas responded, "Manslaughter was perfectly responsive. He was convicted of using a weapon to deny the civil rights of Glover."

Murray also argued that Warren should have gotten a separate trial.

"We maintain that it simply wasn't fair for him to be tried together with all of this allegations of racial epithets, beating up on people, burning bodies, burning cars and all of that. He had nothing to do with that."

Thomas shot back, "The jury was able to interpret the evidence and decide the verdicts independently."

Judge Grady Jolly asked Murray, "What is the prejudice if there is enough evidence to convict your client regardless of the burned body?"

Murray answered, "My client had no role in the cover-up or (the NOPD's) 4th District conspiracy to burn the body."

An attorney for Greg McRae, the officer who burned Glover's body in a car behind a Mississippi River levee, also asked the judges to overturn McRae's conviction.

Reagan Wynn argued burning a body is not a federal offense.

"Our position is it's a necessary element that at the time he burned the body, in his mind he knew it was a police-involved shooting," said Wynn. "Our legal argument is they didn't prove that."

"There was copious evidence that McRae burned that body to destroy evidence," said Thomas.

Judge Patrick Higginbotham asked Wynn, "Why else would he burn the body?"

Winn answered, "In the aftermath of Katrina he saw so many bodies and he wasn't going to see another one rot."

Prosecutors also appealed Judge Lance Affrick's decision to order a new trial for Travis McCabe.

The judge threw out McCabe's conviction for writing a bogus police report after an earlier version of the report, from another officer surfaced after the 2010 trial.

Affrick wrote at the time that he believes the jury probably would have acquitted McCabe if it had seen the newly discovered narrative report.

Thomas said McCabe's defense attorneys should have done a better job looking for the document before trial.

"The defendant has a responsibility to investigate the case against him," said Thomas.

McCabe's attorney Allyn Stroud urged the panel to uphold Affrick's ruling and wants the entire case against his client thrown out of court.

It could be months before the appeal judges hand down their decision. But, from the tone of some of the questions asked, it's clear that the panel took a keen interest in some of the convictions in the case.

 

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