Judge grants defense attorney’s motion to withdraw from HPD officer’s capital murder case

Huntsville

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — The lead attorney for David McCoy, a Huntsville Police officer charged with capital murder has withdrawn from the case.

District Judge Alison Austin granted his motion for withdrawal on Wednesday.

Richard D. Jensen says he doesn’t want his recent personal interactions with local media outlets to have a negative impact on the case. This after filing a number of motions in the case within the past two days.

Attorneys for McCoy, accused of killing his pregnant girlfriend at the apartment complex where he lived, filed several motions Tuesday evening. One of those motions involved preserving the victims’ bodies for testing by an independent pathologist.

The Alabama State Bureau of Investigation arrested and charged 28-year-old David McCoy with capital murder following the shooting death of Courtney Spraggins, of Trion, Ga. Spraggins was 7-months-pregnant and was in a relationship with McCoy, her family told News 19.

McCoy’s lawyers, Whitney Tillman and Richard Jensen asked the court to order the State of Alabama to preserve the “bodies of the victim(s) for testing …”

Court documents argue that if the victim’s body is released for burial the defense’s pathologist only has the autopsy and toxicology report from the state. They argue that violates McCoy’s 6th Amendment right to competent counsel to see, hear, confront and cross-examine the evidence in the case.

Wednesday, Madison County Coroner, Tyler Berryhill confirmed the state’s autopsy of Courtney Spragins, 26, was completed Jan. 10 at the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences Huntsville Regional Laboratory.

“The autopsy confirmed the cause of death as the result of a fatal gunshot wound,” Berryhill said in news release. “She was pregnant at the time of death.  The manner of death was ruled homicide,”

A second motion filed by McCoy’s attorneys asks for DNA samples to be taken from the victim(s) and preserved so the defense can test them.

“The Defendant has information and believes that the State possesses the body of the alleged victim and upon information and belief the alleged victim may have been pregnant at the time of her death,” the filing argues.

“DNA testing is necessary to the Defendant because it may prove to be exculpatory. The Defendant is entitled to conduct independent testing because an exclusion or inability to match his DNA would be exculpatory, and further the DNA of the alleged victim(s) is essential to a complete forensic inquiry into this case,” the defense motion argues.

The defense is also asking that the court allows McCoy to visit the crime scene with his lawyers.

“The facts of this case make it impossible for the Client to describe the scene to his attorneys in sufficient detail to enable counsel to adequately investigate the scene of the alleged crime without his presence,” the filing argues.

The defense argues that McCoy’s residence is a rented apartment it is likely to be rented to someone else, so the visit should happen quickly.

McCoy’s lawyers filed a motion for a gag order in the case that would bar lawyers, witnesses or parties involved from talking about the case. They have also filed a motion to deny the public, including the media, access to pre-trial proceedings and the pre-trial record.

A motion hearing has been scheduled for January 18. McCoy’s preliminary hearing is then set to take place on January 28.

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