Crime

Death penalty trial for accused Monroe deputy killer Christopher Calmer set for 2017

Monroe Co. prosecutor on venue change in Calmer case

Monroe County District Attorney Richard Milam on Friday spoke of a judge's decision to bring in jurors from another county for the death penalty trial of Christopher Calmer. Calmer is accused in the fatal shooting of Monroe Deputy Michael Norris d
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Monroe County District Attorney Richard Milam on Friday spoke of a judge's decision to bring in jurors from another county for the death penalty trial of Christopher Calmer. Calmer is accused in the fatal shooting of Monroe Deputy Michael Norris d

The accused killer of a Monroe County sheriff's deputy won't go to trial until 2017.

A Monroe County judge said Friday that the trial for 48-year-old Christopher Calmer will be held in Forsyth, but that prospective jurors will come from Upson or Butts counties. Jury selection is scheduled to start in June 2017.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Calmer, who is charged with gunning down Deputy Michael Norris in September 2014.

Calmer pleaded not guilty last month in Norris' slaying and the wounding of another deputy during a gun battle at Calmer's parents' home near Bolingbroke.

Calmer was in Monroe Superior Court for a hearing last month as his attorneys asked Judge Tommy Wilson to consider a number of pretrial motions. More than 90 motions have been filed in the case.

Calmer is being held at an undisclosed county jail in another part of Middle Georgia.

During last month's hearing, Gabrielle Amber Pittman, one of Calmer's attorneys, told Wilson that travel to and from jail was difficult for Calmer because it agitated his "neurological problems."

Death penalty prosecutions in Georgia are governed by the unified appeal procedure. That involves a step-by-step checklist that's intended to make sure that any issues or problems in the case -- from police questioning of a defendant to grand jury makeup and more -- are addressed before trial. The aim is to minimize the chance of reversible error in the case.

Should the case proceed to trial, unified appeal hearings will be held in the months leading up to the June 2017 trial date.

To contact writer Joe Kovac Jr., call 744-4397 and find him on Twitter@joekovacjr.

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