by: Richard Elliot Updated:
ATHENS, Ga. - A judge will decide if Athens cop killing suspect Jamie Hood will have to wear a 50,000-volt shock belt during his upcoming capital murder trial.
Hood is accused of killing Athens-Clarke County police officer Elmer "Buddy" Christian and wounding Officer Tony Howard in March 2011.
Deputies feel Hood is a security risk and want him to wear the shock belt known as a "Bandit" device. The device straps to a defendant's calf and is controlled by a deputy with a remote control box. If he sees the defendant trying to escape, trying to assault someone or physically disrupting a courtroom, the deputy activates the device, sending immobilizing electricity into the defendant's muscles.
Hood has a history of speaking out during his preliminary hearings. Twice, a judge had to eject him from the courtroom because of his outbursts.
Capt. Jimps Cole of the Athens-Clarke County Sheriff's Office is in charge of Hood's security at the courthouse. He testified that, because of those outbursts, he feels Hood could be a threat during his trial.
"I have seen Mr. Hood on several occasions over speak the judge," said Cole. "I've seen him over speak his own attorneys. I have seen him intentionally ignore the directions and orders of the judge. Those are issues that cause me concern. I think it speaks to the level, the dangerous level, of what he's capable of doing."
Hood's attorneys argued that strapping the shock belt onto Hood would hamper his ability to assist in their defense. They said if he is fearful of speaking up, he might not be able to help them defend his case. They also argued that there is a chance that a rogue deputy, who knew Christian and Howard, could activate the device on his own out of anger.
Cole said he went to Christian's church and knew him well, but that it didn't affect his ability to conduct himself in a professional manner. He believes other deputies could do the same.
The judge will rule on the case at a later date.