By David Knopf/Richmond News
The judge in the Brandon Simpson case set an October date last week for a trial setting in which he will hear a defense motion to suppress evidence. Pending a judge’s review, a request for a preliminary hearing may be heard the same day.
Simpson, one of three defendants in the strangulation death of Richmond resident Michelle Rheuport, is charged with three felonies – first-degree murder, burglary and theft of a controlled substance, as well as a subsequent misdemeanor charge of assaulting a law-enforcement officer.
Judge J. Bartley Spear Jr. set a 9 a.m. hearing on Oct. 18 to consider a motion by Stanley Thompson, Simpson’s Richmond attorney. Thompson is requesting that certain evidence be barred from the case. Thompson also requested a preliminary hearing in which to argue that the charges be dismissed.
Spear, a DeKalb County judge assigned the case by the state Supreme Court, said he would have to review Thompson’s request to hear both motions at the same hearing. His initial reaction was that a preliminary hearing and the motion to suppress are procedurally different. Hearsay evidence is permitted at a preliminary hearing, Spear said, while it is barred in a hearing on evidence suppression.
Danielle Rogers, prosecutor in the case, didn’t object to combining the hearings but said she couldn’t comment on the motion to suppress since she hadn’t seen it. Spear ordered Thompson to submit the motion in writing and send copies to Rogers, the judge and an assistant attorney general who is assisting the prosecution.
Thompson said it would be submitted this week.