Desmonte Leonard back in court for bond request hearing - - The News for South Mississippi

Desmonte Leonard back in court for bond request hearing

Desmonte Leonard (Source: Montgomery County Sheriff's Department) Desmonte Leonard (Source: Montgomery County Sheriff's Department)

Capital murder suspect, Desmonte Leonard was back in a Lee County courtroom on Friday, only two months before his trial is set to begin.

This time, his lawyers are hoping to convince a judge to lower his bond and discredit a prosecution witness in the process.

Leonard is accused of shooting six people, killing three, at a party at an Auburn apartment complex.

Leonard reportedly wasn't surprised when he heard that key eye-witness, Turquorious Vines, was charged with attempted murder for allegedly shooting someone in June.

Leonard and Vines didn't know each other until they met at a fatal pool party near campus in 2012.

That's when Vine's statements as the only eye witness, helped frame Leonard as the gunman.

On Friday, for the first time in court head defense attorney, Susan James, alluded to the fact that it was Vines who pulled the trigger outside the apartment complex, not Leonard.

"The facts are very similar, and we are looking into it," James said. "We haven't taken that position officially, but there were others out there shooting too."

In light of Vines recent attempted murder charge, James is requesting that the judge grant Leonard bail as the weight of the case against the defendant is now placed on a witness with a felony charge, alleging Vines was one of the sole instigators of the whole incident.

"We think all is relevant for bond, and the trial as a whole," James said. "You play the hand that's dealt, it's a game changer and we are going to maximize what we've been given here."

The prosecution maintains Leonard is a flight risk and plans to fight this motion at every turn.

Depending on the outcome of pending hearings, the defense is strongly considering a push to postpone Leonard's trial until Vine's attempted murder case plays out in court.

Leonard's trial is set for Sept. 22. Another pre-trial hearing is scheduled for late August.

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