Judge rules evidence in alleged road-rage murder can be withheld - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Judge rules evidence in alleged road-rage murder can be withheld from public

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Jefferson Circuit Court judge will allow prosecutors and defense attorneys to withhold evidence from the public and media in the case of a downtown hot dog vendor charged in an alleged road-rage murder.

Judge Mary Shaw on Tuesday signed an order allowing the Kentucky Attorney General's office and attorneys for Donald Hayes to turn evidence over to each other without also having to place it in the Jefferson Circuit Court clerk public file, which is the typical practice in Jefferson County.

Both sides, according to the order, “wish to keep pretrial publicity” to a minimum to ensure “as fair a trial as possible” for Hayes in the June 21 murder of 57-year-old Danny Wilson.

The order by Shaw is rare in Jefferson County, where local court rules require evidence be filed with the court clerk.  

However, Shaw cited a 2009 Kentucky Supreme Court ruling that denied a motion by The Courier-Journal to overturn a judge's decision to seal the evidence in the high-profile murder case against Cecil New. New was eventually convicted of the 2007 killing of 4-year-old Cesar Ivan Aguilar-Cano.

The high court ruled that New's right to an impartial jury was more important than the newspaper's First Amendment right to public access.

In the New case, Judge Judith McDonald-Burkman concluded there were no less restrictive alternatives and that the evidence would be released after a jury was seated and the trial began.

Allison Martin, a spokesperson for the state Attorney General's office, said the request  to withhold the evidence from the media and public was made “due to the high-profile nature” of the case. “We appreciate the judge agreeing to grant that order,” she said.

Martin declined further comment, saying the order speaks for itself.

Kevin Glogower, an attorney for Hayes, said the order is “something slightly out of the ordinary,” but that prosecutors proposed it and the defense had no objection.

 Hayes is out of jail on bond and is still selling hot dogs outside the courthouse. He is due back in court in December.

The Attorney General's office has turned over to the defense about 500 pages of evidence, a DVD of an interview police had with Hayes and the grand jury testimony that led to the indictment.

Some of the facts of the case already came out during a probable cause hearing in Jefferson District Court in July.

Louisville Metro Police Detective Brian Peters testified that Hayes told him the two men got into “a pissing match,” cutting each other off repeatedly while driving on the Watterson Expressway, according to a video of the hearing.  

When asked what prompted the altercation, Hayes told Peters he didn't have an explanation. Hayes said both men exited at Poplar Level Road.

Hayes followed Wilson to a bank parking lot, driving alongside Wilson's vehicle and stopping so close they could not open their doors, Peters said.

Before Hayes could say anything, he told Peters his window shattered, cutting his face. Hayes leaned over and picked up a .38-caliber revolver lying on the seat next to him.

Peters said Hayes told him Wilson drove off, after likely seeing the gun, but Hayes fired a shot toward the car. Hayes said he then went home, not knowing if he had hit Wilson or not. He called 911 after he arrived home, Peters said.

Wilson crashed into three vehicles and was found shot-to-death inside his car. A baseball bat was found between his legs.

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