Legal moves made in Fowler case

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 9, 2007

Defense seeks to have trial moved, state objects



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MARION &045;

The legal wrangling has begun in a 42-year-old murder case where state prosecutors are attempting to bring to justice a 74-year-old in the shooting death of a Perry County man whose name is synonymous with the turbulent 1960s.

The Fourth Judicial Circuit’s district attorney’s office filed opposition Thursday in Perry County Circuit Court to moving the trial of the former state trooper charged in the civil rights-era shooting death of Jimmie Lee Jackson.

James Bonard Fowler had been indicted for the shooting death of Jackson after 42 years. Fowler’s Montgomery attorney asked the court to move the case since he felt his client could not get a fair trial with the courtroom being in the shadows of where the incident took place in 1965.

The motions and briefs filed in the case will be directed to Circuit Judge Tommy Jones, who will be entertaining them in the weeks to come, court officials said.

District Attorney Michael Jackson, no relation to Jimmie Lee, formally answered attorney George L. Beck’s claims that Fowler’s case should be moved due to the inability to find unbiased jurors because of &8220;pre-trial publicity.&8221;

The state’s motion dealt with each allegation Fowler’s defense attorneys laid out to the court, including the how the special grand jury that indicted Fowler in June 2007 was drawn.

Fowler, who was dispatched to Marion the night of Feb. 18, 1965, admitted to shooting Jimmie Lee during an interview with a reporter in 2005. He has since talked openly expressing remorse about what occurred. Jimmie Lee died in Good Samaritan Hospital in Selma of complications from the shooting less than two weeks after being shot .