Gag order issued in court case over 16-year-old murder suspect
GONZALES - A lengthy hearing over a change of venue in a murder trial against a 16-year-old ended with no decision and no talking after court because of a gag order.
Jacob Westbrook, 16, is accused of stabbing Todd Toups, 18, to death in October. Westbrook is being tried as an adult.
The crime and the court case have become controversial. One person who attended the hearing took issue to what he believes is racial inequality: most involved in the case are white except for the suspect. Both the activist, who is an area pastor, and the defense attorney are upset with how the sheriff handled himself during the murder investigation and remarks he made at a news conference after Toups was killed. Then, Sheriff Jeff Wiley called the teen a "killer" and discussed how he felt about troubled teenagers who, he said, "glorify rebellion, glorify hate."
Wiley has said Toups stopped to check on the girl he was taking to a school dance and while at her house he was attacked by Westbrook, who is the boyfriend of the girl's step-sister. The sheriff said the altercation may have started with comments by the step-sister who said if Toups hurt the girl he was taking to the dance, she would stab him. Wiley said Toups may have joked about the comment and was approached by Westbrook who made stabbing gestures at Toups with a knife from the kitchen. Toups, trying to defend himself according to the sheriff, pushed or knocked down Westbrook and was stabbed in the process. He died at a hospital.
The judge said he will review the case and set another hearing for May 9th.
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