MONTGOMERY, AL (WTVM) - The Montgomery-based lawyers of convicted killer Desmonte Leonard have filed a motion requesting a new trial.
The motion, filed in Lee County Circuit Court on Feb, 19, requests a new trial on grounds the jury was not instructed properly; documents read that the jury should have been asked to try him with reckless manslaughter.
The motion states the evidence presented to the initial jury shows Leonard fired his weapon after fearing for his life following an attack, with a psychologist stating "the Leonard feared for his life."
"There was no evidence that Leonard went to the party with the intent to harm anyone or that the killings and injuries occurred as the result of some illegal act on the part of Leonard," the motion said.
His lawyers also say that Leonard should be entitled to claim self-defense, even though he did not have a permit to carry the concealed weapon he used to defend himself.
Leonard was found guilty of capital murder in the 2012 deaths of DeMario Pitts and former Auburn University football players LaDarious Pitts and Ed Christian. He was also charged with two counts of second-degree assault, one count of first-degree assault and attempted murder.
Following a three-day manhunt after the shooting, Leonard was found by U.S. Marshals in Montgomery on June 9, 2012.
Leonard was sentenced to life in prison without parole in January 2015.
The shooting happened at the Tiger Lodge Apartments in 2012; it is the same location of off-campus apartments where Auburn redshirt freshman Jakell Mitchell was shot and killed following an altercation following a party in December 2014.
Further investigation showed Mitchell was armed and exchanged gunfire with his alleged shooter, 22-year-old Markale Hart.
Mobile users: You can view the motion in full by clicking here [PDF file].