The lawyer for a Baker man accused of fatally shooting LSU basketball player Wayde Sims in 2018 says in recently filed court documents that his client cannot get a fair trial in East Baton Rouge Parish because of "pervasive and prejudicial" media coverage of the case.
East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore III said Thursday he disagrees with Dyteon Simpson's lawyers.
The defense lawyers are asking state District Judge Ron Johnson to move Simpson's second-degree murder trial to another parish.
A Baker man accused in the high-profile 2018 killing of LSU basketball player Wayde Sims cannot be judged fairly by jurors picked from the Bat…
A trial date has not been set in the high-profile case; a motion hearing is scheduled Nov. 18.
"Before and after Mr. Simpson's arrest, the media coverage in this matter has been significant and unending on a local and national level in large part due to the victim's status as an LSU basketball player," Simpson's court-appointed lawyers, Lindsay Blouin and Margaret Lagattuta, noted in a change of venue motion filed Wednesday.
Media outlets, websites and radio stations cited in the motion include The Advocate, WAFB, WBRZ, BR Proud, 247Sports.com, AP Fox Sports, the LSU Reveille, Eagle 98.1, 104.5 ESPN Baton Rouge, 100.7 The Tiger, Talk 107.3, and TigerDroppings.com.
"In the last year, hundreds of video and print media spotlights have been published locally and nationally about Dyteon Simpson's background, the details of this case, and the impact of the loss of the victim on the LSU and East Baton Rouge community," the motion states. "This pervasive and prejudicial coverage requires a change of venue to ensure due process is maintained in this case."
Blouin and Lagattuta add that as the case moves closer to trial, "we can correctly assume that the surrounding media coverage and internet posts will also increase in frequency further prejudicing this local jury pool."
Moore, whose office is prosecuting the case, said murder cases such as this one understandably generate notoriety and therefore media coverage.
"This coverage has not been at the direction of police or prosecutors nor has any legal strategy by any of those involved in the case been disclosed in the media," he said. "We believe the coverage surrounding this case is not a basis to change venue."
Sims, 20, starred at University High and is the son of former LSU basketball player Wayne Sims, who played under then-Coach Dale Brown in the late 1980s.
Simpson, 22, has pleaded not guilty and remains jailed. He faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison if convicted as charged. Police have said Simpson confessed to punching Sims' friend and then intentionally shooting Sims on Sept. 28, 2018.
A Baker man pleaded not guilty Thursday in the September slaying of LSU basketball player and former University High standout Wayde Sims.
Simpson is accused of shooting Sims in the face with a 9 mm pistol after Sims intervened during a fistfight to defend a friend outside a fraternity party just off the Southern University campus.
The last time a Baton Rouge case saw a change of venue was decades ago and involved the killing of drug smuggler-turned-government informant Adler “Barry” Seal.
Last year, state District Judge Trudy White had ruled that two men accused in the high-profile 2015 robbery, abduction and slaying of Highland Road couple Denis "Bubbie" Duplantier and Suzanne "Suzy" Duplantier would not have their first-degree murder cases heard by jurors from East Baton Rouge because of extensive pretrial publicity.
However, a state appeals court reversed White this year and noted that even serial killer Derrick Todd Lee was tried in 2004 by jurors from East Baton Rouge Parish, where many of his crimes occurred. Lee later died on death row.