Accused cop killer Jamie Hood argues trial should be taken out of Athens



ATHENS - Accused Athens cop killer Jamie Hood agreed to keep his murder trial in Clarke County, but he wants to bring in another jury from either Fulton or DeKalb counties.

After a judge granted his request in March, Hood entered the courtroom Thursday acting as his own attorney for the first time.  He tried to cast himself as a lone amateur defendant against the state of Georgia.
"I'm just one man against three people over there, experienced and educated people at that," Hood told Superior Court Judge H. Patrick Haggard.

Haggard kept Hood focused on the hearing's main purpose, which was a potential change of venue and taking one of the two murders for which he will be tried into a separate murder trial.

District Attorney Ken Mauldin agreed with Hood's request to have a change of venue because of extensive pretrial publicity surrounding the case, but he wants to bring a jury in from another Georgia county rather than move the entire trial somewhere else.

Hood offered Fulton or DeKalb as a possible location from which to pick a jury.

"It's a capital case," said Hood.  "I feel like a capital jury should hear it, and we have people from all walks of life in the capital city.  I feel like if the prosecutors feel like he's got a sure case, they shouldn't matter where the jury comes from."

Mauldin objected to Fulton or DeKalb because he says the majority of the pretrial publicity centered on the Metro Atlanta area.

"If one of the reasons for the change of venue is to pick a jury elsewhere, it would be because of extensive pretrial publicity," said Mauldin.  "It can't go without note that the extensive publicity has come from the Atlanta media market area."

Hood is accused of killing Athens-Clarke County police Officer Elmer "Buddy" Christian and wounding Officer Tony Howard.  He's also accused of killing Kenneth Omari Wray three weeks earlier.  Hood wants a judge to try him separately on Wray's murder.

Haggard indicated he could make a final ruling on the matters within the next week.

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