STOCKTON (BCN/CBS SF) — A judge will decide Tuesday morning if a request from the defense attorney representing Wesley Brownlee will be granted to restrict the district attorney and police from discussing the case with the media after what he described as “prejudicial” statements were made to the press this month.
Allison Nobert, Brownlee’s public defender, appeared in court on Monday with her client after filing the motion for a protective order against pretrial publicity.
Brownlee was arrested on suspicion of fatally shooting six people and suspicion of attempted murder but has so far only been charged with three murders.
“There is sufficient evidence to pursue three counts of murder and we are confident additional charges will be added to the complaint as the investigation progresses,” District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar said.
The defense argued that a protective order was needed because recent media coverage and statements from the Stockton Police Department and the San Joaquin County District Attorney were prejudiced against Brownlee.
“Among the legal procedures is the requirement that the jury’s verdict be based on evidence received in open court, not from outside sources,” Nobert said. “By continually allowing both Chief McFadden and the district attorney’s office from disseminating alleged facts about this case, they are depriving him of that,” he told the court.
During her argument, Nobert showed articles from ABC News, the New York Times, the Stockton Record, and NBC news where Brownlee was accused of “hunting” for victims and in which “inflammatory” statements were made against him.
During the hearing, Brownlee stared straight ahead without displaying any emotions, while four of his family members sat behind him listening silently.
Norbert specifically called out prosecutor Verber Salazar, who described Brownlee as someone underserving to have his name uttered ever again.
“Salazar took to the podium and