COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. – A judge ruled largely in favor of the media and the public when it came to restrictive motions filed on behalf of a man accused of killing two, including a Sheffield Police Officer.
Accused killer Brian Lansing Martin’s attorney filed motions to block any broadcasting, recording, or photographing of his future court proceedings and bar trial participants from commenting or releasing any information to members of the media.
Martin is accused of killing William Mealback Jr., in Muscle Shoals, then shooting two officers during a shootout later on October 1, critically wounding Sheffield Police Sgt. Nick Risner, who later died at Huntsville Hospital.
Colbert County District Judge Chad Coker ruled that while the use of cameras has never been permitted inside the District Court of Colbert County, they can be used outside the courtroom and on courthouse grounds as long as they don’t impede operations.
Because it is a public proceeding, Judge Coker ruled that the media and other citizens are afforded every right to attend the proceedings.
As for the motion to prohibit commenting to the media, Judge Coker denied it with caution, asking anyone who testifies to “carefully consider the impact of their comments, whether it be to the media and/or on social media, on the pending proceedings.”
Martin is facing 10 charges, including four counts of capital murder in the deaths of Sgt. Risner and William Mealback, Jr.
Sheffield Police Lt. Max Dotson was also shot and has filed a lawsuit against Martin, alleging Martin’s actions caused him physical harm, mental anguish, and emotional distress.
Martin’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for December 3. He’s being held in the Morgan County Jail.