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Jury selected in trial of 'Serial killer' Kenneth Gleason, opening statements begin Thursday

3 years 2 months 1 week ago Wednesday, April 14 2021 Apr 14, 2021 April 14, 2021 7:58 PM April 14, 2021 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Although not charged with a hate crime, the state says the pattern of Kenneth Gleason's crimes is hard to ignore.

Gleason is on trial for the 2017 murder of Donald Smart, a long-time and well-known employee of Baton Rouge's Louie's Cafe.

"It could have been anybody, just walking black, going to work, he don't know what kind of person he took. He didn't just take a black man, he took a good black man," said his niece Ariel Smart in 2017.

Gleason is also charged with the murder of Bruce Cofield, a Black homeless man, and shooting up the house of a Black family. The jury will hear about that killing during the trial.

The judge will also allow evidence that paints Gleason as a white supremacist and a Hitler supporter.

"It's just a two week trial. A lot of witnesses, a lot of evidence to go through. We're prepared to present our case. We're ready to go forward and present our case to the jury," said District Attorney Hillar Moore.

Over three days, and lots of back and forth, a jury of 12 was decided on, but of that group, only one juror is Black.

The state could not comment on record on how that could potentially hurt their case, but prosecutors in court did not seem happy.

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