Murder trial for Alabama police officer heads to new venue

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OZARK, Ala. (AP) — A trial for a white Alabama officer charged with murder in the death of an unarmed black man has been moved to a new county.

News outlets report retired Dale County Circuit Judge P.B. McLauchlin ruled Tuesday that Montgomery police officer Aaron Cody Smith will be tried in Dale County in November. Smith has said he acted in self-defense when he killed 58-year-old Gregory Gunn, who fled a random stop-and-frisk and was chased, shocked, beaten and shot five times in 2016.

Smith sought immunity from prosecution under Alabama’s self-defense law, but was denied. His lawyers sought the change of venue, arguing that pretrial publicity meant Smith wouldn’t get a fair trial in Montgomery County. The state Supreme Court assigned McLauchlin to the case after eight other judges recused themselves.

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