Convicted wife killer claims he didnít receive a fair trial
By Dwayne Bremer
Oct 26, 2012, 23:29
Convicted murderer Leo Laurent Jr. said in new court filings in Hancock County Circuit Court that his 2010 trial was "a total mockery" and he should be released from custody.
Laurent, 34, was arrested in 2008 for the murder of his wife Brandi Hawkins Laurent, at their Fenton trailer in August 2007.
Laurent was tried and convicted in June 2010. His appeals to the Mississippi Court of Appeals and Mississippi Supreme Court were both denied.
He is currently serving a life sentence and is housed at the East Mississippi Correctional Facility (EMCF).
Since being in MDOC custody, Laurent has filed two federal lawsuits against the EMCF.
On Oct. 9, Laurent filed a motion for post-relief conviction in Hancock County Circuit Court.
In the motion, Laurent claims that his attorneys were ineffective and his right to due process was violated.
"The media pressure and political pressure may not override the defense attorney and the constitution," Laurent said. "An innocent man was sent to prison."
Judge Roger Clark, who presided over Laurent's trial, retains jurisdiction over the case.
One of Laurent's primary complaints in the motion is that his attorneys were ineffective.
Laurent cited several examples of what he said was ineffective counsel and said his attorney, Brian Alexander, had "cursed him out" and told him "you do not want me as your attorney" prior to the trial.
Laurent said Alexander only took the case because of "publicity."
Alexander said this week that he did not wish to respond to Laurent's claims.
In early 2010, Alexander asked Clark if he could be removed from representing Laurent.
Clark denied Alexander's request and appointed attorney Jim McGuire to assist him in preparing for the case.
Laurent said he only met McGuire once prior to trial.
Laurent also claimed that his attorneys refused to let him take the stand in his own defense, although Laurent told Clark at trial that it was his (Laurent's) decision not to take the stand.
In addition to his arguments in the motion, Laurent said he has "bettered himself" in jail.
"I have not wasted the three years," he said. "I lead prayer groups in here and guide the young adults to a new path against drugs, gangs, and the way of life which repeatedly puts them in here."
The motion is not an appeal, but rather, a civil action which asks the court to review the record of the case and grant any relief it may deem necessary.
Clark will now review the motion and either grant relief or dismiss the motion, officials said.