Missouri Supreme Court Rule cited in written decision
A media request for cameras and social media coverage during the trial for Timothy Brokes Jr. was denied by Judge Rachel Bringer Shepherd on Thursday, Nov. 9.
Representatives from KHQA, WGEM and the Hannibal Courier-Post appeared for a hearing regarding the request on Wednesday, Nov. 1. Brokes' defense attorney, Charles Hoskins, objected to the request, citing potential distractions and inadvertent recording of private conversations between the defendant and his attorney. Marion County Prosecuting Attorney David Clayton and Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney Talley Kendrick — both representing the state — deferred to the court's judgement on the matter. KHQA News Director Kristen Hamilton spoke about successful cooperation during the Curtis Lovelace trial in Quincy, Ill., and WGEM Internet Director Travis Sloan said video and live streaming “provides a true representation of what happens.”
Shepherd told everyone she would consider the requests and arguments and render a decision, sending copies to Hamilton and WGEM Executive Content Producer Gary Davis. In her signed decision, Shepherd wrote that she considered the provisions of Missouri Supreme Court Operating Rule 16 pertaining rights to a fair trial.
“The Court finds, pursuant to Court Operating Rule 16, that a video camera and audio recorder in the courtroom, live-streaming of the proceedings, live social media from the trial and live tweeting of the proceedings would 'materially interfere with the rights of the parties to a fair trial,” she wrote.
Brokes’ trial stems from a January 2016 crime spree. Brittany Gauch died of gunshot wounds, and her husband, Aaron Gauch was injured in separate incidents on Jan. 12. Brokes faces felony charges of first-degree murder, armed criminal action and assault.
The defendant also faces felony counts in Monroe County for assault of a law enforcement officer, armed criminal action and hindering prosecution. Those charges stem from a shootout that left Monroe City police officer Travis Pugh injured and ended with Brokes and his passenger, June Smith, placed under arrest.
Smith pleaded guilty to a felony charge of hindering prosecution related to the Monroe City incident. Smith was sentenced to 42 months in prison on Thursday, Nov. 3.
Brokes is incarcerated in the Marion County Jail with a $1 million cash-only bond, two $500,000 cash-only bonds and a $100,000 cash-only bond.
Reach reporter Trevor McDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org