A fiery Baton Rouge radio personality who called LSU basketball player Wayde Sims' accused killer a "piece of trash" in a 2020 broadcast and said any juror who doesn't find him guilty is a "loser" testified Friday that he speaks the truth and his opinion on the case hasn't changed.

"I talk about issues that others in radio are afraid to talk about," Richard Condon said while being questioned by an attorney for Dyteon Simpson, who is charged with second-degree murder in Sims' September 2018 shooting death.

East Baton Rouge Parish Assistant Public Defender Margaret Lagattuta, who represents Simpson, subpoenaed Condon as she seeks to move a homicide trial out of Baton Rouge. She claims Simpson cannot get a fair trial before East Baton Rouge jurors because of extensive media coverage.

At the end of a hearing, during which Condon and Lagattuta had a spirited exchange, state District Judge Will Jorden said the change of venue motion filed last fall is premature because prospective jurors have yet to be questioned.

"We don't get there until we actually get to jury selection," the judge said.

Jorden said the trial will begin the week of Feb. 7. Simpson told the judge he wants to hire an attorney. If he does, Jorden cautioned, that lawyer must be prepared for trial on the February date.

As Sims' parents, Wayne and Fay Sims, left the 19th Judicial District courtroom, Fay Sims said, "We just miss him."

Simpson, 22, of Baker, is accused of shooting Sims in the face with a 9 mm pistol on Sept. 28, 2018, after Sims, 20, intervened during a fistfight to defend a friend outside a fraternity party just off the Southern University campus.

Police have said Simpson confessed to punching Sims' friend and then intentionally shooting Sims. Simpson, who has pleaded not guilty and remains jailed, faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison if convicted as charged.

DNA evidence retrieved from a pair of glasses found on the scene matched a DNA sample that Simpson gave investigators, authorities have said. The glasses were knocked off the shooter’s face during the fight, according to witness statements contained in an arrest report.

During Friday's hearing, Lagattuta played a recording of a Feb. 11, 2020 broadcast on WDGL-FM in which Condon, host of "Condon Uncensored," called her client a "loser" and said "why would any person in their right mind" defend him. He also used the word "loser" to describe any juror who doesn't vote to convict Simpson.

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Condon also took aim at Lagattuta during the broadcast, which came a day after Lagattuta stated her intention to file for a change of venue, questioning how she is able to put her head on her pillow at night and saying she would be working for a private law firm if she had studied harder in law school.

"How do you go to work and defend a piece of trash like this?" he asked during the broadcast.

Condon didn't back down from those statements during his court testimony, saying, "I tell the truth" and "Truth leads to ratings."

"I speak for most people who don't have a chance to do what I do on a mic," he said.

"A young man from a great family was taken in the prime of his life," he added, saying he prays daily for the Sims family.

Lagattuta argued to the judge that Condon's opinion "is what is being broadcast to our jurors."

Assistant District Attorney Jermaine Guillory countered that Simpson undoubtedly has a right to an impartial jury but said, "This community should decide the fate of this case" because the homicide happened in this community.

Guillory agreed that Condon "is not a good juror for this case" but said the radio personality's is "one man's opinion." The prosecutor said it is a "reach" to say Condon's opinion is representative of the 400,000 residents of East Baton Rouge.

Jorden, the judge, said Condon "would be a horrible juror for this case."

Lagattuta reminded the judge that, "We are in the capital, the hot seat of LSU sports" and WDGL touts itself as the flagship station for LSU sports.

Wayde Sims starred at University High. His father, Wayne, played basketball at LSU under then-Coach Dale Brown in the late 1980s.


Email Joe Gyan Jr. at jgyan@theadvocate.com.