Judge OKs Internet talks in murder case

Trevor Reese
Trevor Reese

A state district judge granted a motion Thursday to allow a Shreveport psychiatrist to converse via the Internet with the jailed suspect charged in the June 2010 throat-slashing death of an 8-year-old boy.

Trevor Reese, 19, faces trial March 18 for first-degree murder in the death of Jackson Attuso, of Clinton, attacked on a bike and hiking path at The Bluffs on Thompson Creek.

Reese has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

Reese’s attorney, Lewis O. Unglesby, asked the judge to allow the weekly sessions between Reese and Dr. Travis Phifer, who is working for the defense.

Twentieth Judicial District Attorney Sam D’Aquilla had agreed to allow the audio and video connections if a sheriff’s deputy is in the room during the discussions, but Unglesby sought to keep the conversations private.

Unglesby said in his motion that Reese’s family is paying for the computer and Internet connection and no security issues would be involved because Reese would have no access to the computer.

He said his client “only needs the freedom to speak freely without law enforcement overhearing him.”

The motion also says Phifer believes Reese would benefit from the weekly psychotherapy sessions, but the doctor also said having a deputy in the room would be non-productive.

Unglesby told 20th Judicial District Judge William G. Carmichael on Thursday he simply is trying to bring new technology into the legal system.

Carmichael granted the motion over D’Aquilla’s objection, noting that courts “will be faced with these things” as communications technology advances.

Unglesby said in his motion he had to go outside of the Baton Rouge area to obtain a defense psychiatric expert because of relationships among the boy’s parents, the medical community and East Louisiana State Hospital in Jackson.

D’Aquilla also pressed Thursday for what he called “raw data” that defense experts will use in forming opinions about Reese’s mental state, saying prosecutors need to provide that information to the state’s experts.

“I don’t want to be blindsided at trial,” D’Aquilla told the judge.

“What he really wants is these doctors to sit down, dictate their notes and send them to him,” Unglesby countered.

Carmichael said he will hold a Feb. 21 hearing to determine if the defense has withheld any specific information which the state is entitled to see.