Hearing in Cheyenne Child Murder Case to be Open
A judge has decided to open the preliminary hearing in a case involving a 24-year-old Cheyenne man accused of murdering his girlfriend's 2-year-old son.
Laramie County District Court Judge Steven Sharpe issued the ruling Monday to allow the press and public access to John Barrett's preliminary hearing as well as court records in the case.
Laramie County Circuit Court Judge Denise Nau, on August 24, and Albany County Circuit Court Judge Robert Castor, on September 12, ordered the hearing be closed, but APG Media appealed the decisions.
"The right doesn't belong to the press it belongs to the public," said Barrett's attorney, Diane Lozano, who argued that "inflammatory" media coverage could lead to a biased jury and unfair trial.
"It's a probable cause hearing that will be rife of hearsay testimony," she added. "I don't trust this corps of press to report this in a fair and unbiased way."
"Just because this is a child homicide case, that's not a sufficient reason to close the hearing," said Judge Sharpe, adding that he was "convinced" Barrett would receive a fair trial.
Barrett has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder, first-degree sexual abuse of a minor, child abuse and aggravated child abuse. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.
Barrett's preliminary hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.