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Court begins hearing motions in Peppers Market slaying

POSTED: March 19, 2014 12:29 a.m.

The first of several dozen defense motions were heard Tuesday in the case of a Gainesville man accused of murder.

Joseph Scott Williams, 33, is accused of shooting and killing 37-year-old Adrien Lamont Thompson. Police allege Williams shot the Gainesville man multiple times on June 3 in the parking lot outside Peppers Market off E.E. Butler Parkway in Gainesville.

Thompson’s first name is spelled “Adrien” on the motions, but was spelled “Adiren” on police and earlier court documents. His name was listed as “Adrian” on his Facebook page and in his obituary.

Williams is charged with malice murder, felony murder, possession of a gun by a convicted felon, possession of a gun in commission of a crime, terroristic threats and cruelty to a child in the third degree, a misdemeanor. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

About 25 people sat together in court for the hearing, evidently friends and family of Thompson. The hearing was originally scheduled to be heard at the jail, but was relocated to the Hall County Courthouse to accommodate the crowd.

Senior Public Defender Travis Williams argued the motions at the 45-minute hearing, which was for “non-substantive” matters. The motions weren’t particularly contentious, and largely focused on clarifying procedure in the weeks and months before trial, with an emphasis on jury selection.

Assistant District Attorney Shiv Sachdeva noted many were filed “out of an abundance of caution” by the defense, such as a motion Williams made requesting the state turn over phone calls made to his client at the jail in evidence.

“I don’t think the state should ever use jail phone calls, so if they don’t want to pull them, I’m fine with that,” Williams said. “I’m fine with a court order to provide them as they pull them ... I just want to make sure that we have a procedural vehicle in place to obtain them.”

Judge Jason Deal set an April 9 deadline for the state to provide a venue for the defense to examine physical evidence in the case per a defense motion, and he has set multiple future hearings on “substantive” motions. The next is scheduled for April 15.

Those motions, including a request to exclude evidence from allegedly unlawful police searches of the defendant’s car, home and cellphone, and an interview with his spiritual adviser, could draw significant implications for the state’s evidence at trial.

Williams, the defendant, spoke briefly and quietly during the hearing, responding to questions from Deal about his detention at the Hall County Jail, where he has been held since his arrest hours after being pulled over in Flowery Branch shortly after the shooting .


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