Man accused of killing TPD Officer Dornell Cousette appears in court

Local News

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — The man accused of shooting and killing Tuscaloosa Police Officer Dornell Cousette appeared in court Tuesday morning for a status hearing. 

Luther Watkins was brought into the Tuscaloosa County Courthouse under heavy police security. He is charged with capital murder in the death of Cousette in 2019. Cousette was killed attempting to arrest Watkins.

Jim Standridge is Waykins’ lawyer. He says he wants to have access to all evidence to help his case.

“It is important to us that we find out everything that happened in connection with this case. And we uncover all the evidence in this case so we can know exactly what happened and didn’t happen,” Standridge said.

The defense filed a motion asking the judge to prohibit the death penalty in this case. Chief Assistant District Attorney Paula Whitley strongly opposes the motion.

“We objected to their motion and believe that under Alabama state law allows the imposition of the death penalty who is convicted of capital murder if they are over the age of 18,” Whitley said.

Judge Brad Almond did not make any ruling on the motion, which will have at a later date during another hearing. Standridge says the death penalty is a big part of this case and is hoping the judge will rule in favor of his motion.

“We oppose the death penalty in all our cases but this case because we don’t believe the conduct, in this case, fits what the statute calls for as a capital offense,” Standridge said.

Whitley says she wants justice for officer Cousette’s family.

“The family is still dealing with their loss but they came today and showed tremendous support and we appreciate them coming for hearings even though it’s frustrating at times but it’s very important for them to be here,” she said.

No trial date has been set for this case.

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