BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) – The defense attorney for convicted murdered Leo Laurent believes the jury that found him guilty of his wife's killing could have been swayed by courtroom observers.
That jury tampering allegation is one of two charges filed in a motion that requests the court to order a new trial for Laurent.
"Defense counsel has reason to believe at least two individuals with animosity towards the Defendant had contact with members of the jury during trial," the motion reads. "Further, upon information or belief, at least one of said individuals was a witness in said trial."
The other charge in the motion was that the court erred by not granting Laurent a psychological evaluation prior to his trial. The defense hoped to establish whether Laurent was competent to stand trial.
He wrote, "The trial court refused to authorize said evaluation and the notion that Defendant did not grasp the ramifications of what was going on was borne out by Defendant's continued insistence during trial that counsel make statements to the jury or question state witnesses in such a manner so as to portray Defendant in worse light which repeatedly confirmed in counsel's mind that Defendant had no real understanding of basic cause and effect nor of a trial strategy that would aid rather than hamper Defendant's goal of acquittal."
A jury in Hattiesburg found Laurent guilty on June 30 of the 2007 murder of his wife Brandi. He was sentenced to life in prison.