Bay St. Louis murder trial moved because of courtroom acoustics

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - By Al Showers – bio | email

BAY ST LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - Opening arguments in the murder trial of a Bay St. Louis man begin Wednesday. Michael Burks, a former bail bondsman, is accused of shooting Gary Joiner in 2007.

It happened across from Burks' home on Nassau Street. Authorities say the two struggled over a gun, and Joiner was shot in the head.

Burks' attorney has already won a victory for his client by getting the trial moved out of the main courtroom at the Hancock County Courthouse, which has major problems with an echo sound.

"The problem in there is reverberation of sound," defense attorney Jimmy McGuire said. "There is a big dome up there, and the sound just goes everywhere and you can't understand what's being said. You have to guess at what's being said."

McGuire said it was a matter of getting a fair trial for his client after another case ended in a mistrial because no one could hear what was going on.

"The jurors can't hear, the court reporters can't hear, the judge can't hear, the defense attorneys can't hear. You can't get a fair trial like that."

Though supervisors have looked at various solutions, the sound problems remain. So, the judge who will hear Burks' case moved the trial to the family courtroom.

"It's going to be cramped and small, but at least the jurors can hear what's being said," McGuire said.

Opening arguments in Michael Burks' murder trial are set to start Wednesday at 9:30am.

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