The defense for accused murderer Cobey Lakemper failed in their attempts to force Judge Samuel Ozburn from the capital case Wednesday.
Lakemper's lawyers, William McGuire with the Georgia Capitol Defender's office and Anthony Carter of the Alcovy Judicial Circuit Public Defender's office, argued Ozburn had a "so what" attitude about a motion filed regarding where Lakemper was incarcerated.
Ozburn said in July hearings that Lakemper's location would be determined by Newton County Sheriff Joe Nichols.
The defense said Wednesday in front of Judge Horace Johnson that Ozburn refused to allow them to call witnesses on the issue and suggested that even if they made their legal point, it would not matter.
A check of the court transcript by the defense and the Johnson revealed no such statements, but McGuire and Carter were not convinced the record was accurate. The attorneys asked Johnson for permission to listen to digital recordings of the July hearings, but Johnson denied their request. Later in the day, Ozburn told the defense they could have access to the recordings to ensure he was not in the wrong.
Johnson determined the request for recusal had no substance and was denied.
Newton County District Attorney Ken Wynne agreed that Ozburn had done nothing inappropriate.
"It's one of the most baseless motions that has ever been filed," Wynne said in court.
In July, the defense argued that Lakemper's move to a jail in Putnam County was retaliatory after Lakemper complained about his treatment at the Newton County Detention Center. McGuire had no problem with moving Lakemper from the NCDC but wanted some say in where he was moved.
McGuire said the jail in Putnam County, which has a mostly black population, was dangerous for Lakemper because of his Ku Klux Klan tattoos. In the time between July and Wednesday's hearings, Lakemper was allegedly attacked while in jail.
Lakemper has filed a separate civil lawsuit against the state regarding the incident.
Also in court Wednesday, the defense was granted access to Lakemper's alleged victim Wendy Carter's medical records. Ozburn determined that Carter's records were "critical evidence" in the case and that the defense was entitled to have access.
Lakemper allegedly shot Carter on Aug. 18, 2005, in the Comfort Inn where she worked. She died Nov. 4, 2005, from a heart attack. The medical examiner determined the heart attack was a result of complications due to the gunshot wound.
The defense requested the records so they could verify that Carter's death was related to the gunshot wound.
They were denied access medical files held by the DA's office and by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation until it can be determined if their records differ from those turned over to the defense.
Ozburn also set a deadline of Oct. 10 for the defense to decide if they are going to "opt in." If they do decide to "opt in," both the defense and prosecution will share what information they have relating to the case. The deadline is was set in October to give the defense time to review Carter's medical records.
The defense also announced they would not use an insanity or retardation defense. More hearings were set for Thursday and today, but both days were canceled after all prepared motions were heard on Wednesday.