TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The murder trial of a former Space Shuttle commander set for next week has been moved and will not take place in 2019.
James Halsell is charged with reckless murder in the car crash deaths of two girls, 11-year-old Niomi James and 13-year-old Jayla Parler, on U.S. 82 in Tuscaloosa County in June 2016.
The trial was set for Dec. 9.
Halsell’s attorneys and Tuscaloosa County prosecutors recently skirmished over a public statement by the defense arguing Halsell was innocent. Prosecutors want a gag order imposed, but the defense argues the statements were consistent with Halsell’s not guilty plea.
The defense had also notified the court that it expected to file a number of pre-trial motions and that could delay the trial date.
The judge has set a Jan. 10 pre-trial conference, but court records don’t yet list a new trial date.
The charges against Halsell allege he was under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance at the time of the crash.