Defense argues capital murder suspect is innocent with an alibi for the time of the shooting

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – A man accused of killing a Huntsville teenager was slated to face a judge Wednesday, and he showed up with an alibi that could change the course of the case.

Last month, 19-year-old Austin Rich was shot and killed at the Brixworth Apartment Complex near Bridge Street shopping center in Huntsville. Police believe the shooting took place during a robbery.

Authorities arrested Demorris Lauderdale a week later and charged him with capital murder. Defense attorney Greg Varner insists his client is innocent.  Varner told WHNT News 19 that there is physical evidence proving Demorris Lauderdale was not at the scene at the time of the crime. He argues his client should be able to get out of jail on bond.

In the shooting death of 19-year-old Austin Rich, the defense says it can prove Huntsville Police got the wrong guy when they charged 28-year-old Demorris Lauderdale with capital murder.

“We want the right person to be held accountable so if there is evidence to the contrary, we want that evidence. And we want to investigate it to the fullest extent,” says Chief Trial Attorney, Tim Gann.

Monday, the defense filed video evidence showing Lauderdale at his job in Canton, Georgia at the time of the shooting.

Madison County’s Chief Trial Attorney Tim Gann says his office will investigate that claim. “We can’t just take it at face value. We’ve got to look at.. ‘is this person biased or would they have a reason to lie?’ If it’s a video, you have to identify the person in the video.”

The defense plans to argue the eye-witness from the scene misidentified the shooter.

“With eyewitnesses things are happening real fast. It’s a shocking event. So sometimes it [misidentification] happens. We try to do everything we can do to make sure the right person gets charged,” says Gann.

This case was set for a preliminary hearing Wednesday morning, but it was continued.

Court records show a new preliminary hearing has been set for May 8, in Judge Alan Mann’s courtroom. The bond hearing will take place on May 10.

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