Judge to decide if victims’ families can show emotion in court for OSU homecoming crash case
STILLWATER, Okla. – Several key issues are set to be decided Tuesday morning in the Adacia Chambers’ murder case.
Authorities said Adacia Chambers drove her car into an unmanned police motorcycle before plowing straight into the crowd of onlookers during Oklahoma State’s homecoming parade on Oct. 24, 2015.
In all, authorities said four people were killed and 46 others were injured in the crash.
Officials said 2-year-old Nash Lucas, 23-year-old Nikita Nakal, 65-year-olds Dr. Marvin and Bonnie Stone were all killed in the crash.
Dozens of other spectators were also injured.
Prosecutors have said Chambers intentionally drove her car into the crowd of people, smashing through police barricades.
She is charged with four counts of first-degree murder and 42 counts of assault and battery.
Chambers has pleaded not guilty to all those counts.
A motion hearing is scheduled for Tuesday morning, where the judge will rule on several motions from the defense, including whether victims’ families can show emotion in the courtroom while sitting as spectators, reports KFOR.
That motion was filed in October by Chambers’ attorney, Tony Coleman.
“This case is going to be emotional. There’s no way to take it out, take that out of there. But, I think Mr. Coleman is simply trying to protect Ms. Chambers. He’s the only one she’s got,” said Jacqui Ford, a local attorney. “I don’t think he’s doing it to be offensive to the family members at all but really trying to give Ms. Chambers a fair shot. And, she’s going to need all the help she can get.
The motion asks the court “to instruct the victim’s family not to sit directly before the jury and not to openly show or display any emotion” saying it would “cause the jury to be sympathetic toward the victims’ family and will cause them to relate to the family in such a manner that will be highly prejudicial to Ms. Chambers.”
But, in the state’s response to the motion, they call it “patently offensive to the rights of victims and their families” and said “a rule hiding the victims and their families is unwarranted and unlawful.”
“You don’t want jurors to be unduly biased. You don’t want them to be making decisions on guilt versus innocence based on an emotional response,” Ford said.
The judge will also be deciding if it’s possible to find unbiased jurors for the case in Stillwater or if the trial needs to be moved somewhere else.
“I think it would be awfully tough for Ms. Chambers to get a fair trial in Stillwater,” Ford said.
Some other motions the defense has filed are to not allow any photographs of the deceased or autopsy photographs be shown in court.
The motion hearing is set for 9 a.m. Tuesday in Payne County.