As an Birmingham criminal defense attorney, I have the experience to aggressively defend individuals accused of various crimes ranging from petty theft to grand larceny and domestic violence to murder in the first degree. The innocence of defendants in a criminal trial is assumed until a conviction by a jury of their peers. No matter where you live — Tuscaloosa, Decatur, Madison, Prattville or anywhere else in Alabama — a jury may acquit a person arrested for a crime if the evidence gathered by the police is lacking, however in the case of some offenses the facts can be quite damning.
The trial of a man accused of fatally shooting a Huntsville police officer has seen some interesting defense tactics. According to recent news articles, Kenneth Shipp was arrested following the shooting death of Officer Eric Freeman in late 2007. The defendant’s criminal lawyer reminded jurors their job was determine whether or not Freeman’s death was a result of Shipp’s intention to kill the officer, or simply a tragic result of the defendant’s reported drunkenness that evening.
According to court reports, Shipp was not only intoxicated that night, but was also under the influence of pharmaceutical drugs, which has apparently been established as fact in the case.
This is a serious situation for the defendant, who faces a capital murder charge for killing a police officer in the line of duty. In fact, the prosecution had at the time for the article stated that it would seek the death penalty if the 55-year-old man is convicted.
Based on reports, the shooting incident occurred on December 14, 2007, following what has been described as a simple investigation of a possible DUI traffic accidentat Bailey Cove and Weatherly roads. However, that routine drunk driving traffic stop ended moments later when Shipp allegedly shot Officer Freeman at point-blank range with a small .22-caliber pistol.
Police reports show that Shipp shot Freeman as he and another officer, Kevin Lambert, were escorting Shipp to a patrol car to wait for a DUI investigator. When a third officer arrived, he found Lambert, Shipp and another man, a former police officer, wrestling on the ground and trying to get the gun away from Shipp.
Court records indicate that other officers arriving at the scene hear the defendant yelling that he had a bomb and demanding that they shoot and kill him. Based on news reports, Shipp’s defense team questioned whether the defendant’s behavior was consistent with intoxication. In Alabama intoxication is not a defense in and of itself. But it can sometimes be used as a defense if someone is so intoxicated that they suffer from mania and clearly don’t know what they are doing.
Defense focus: Shipp intoxication, AL.com, February 02, 2010