A lawyer for a murder defendant in South Carolina is asking a judge to order the victim’s mother and other family members to stop posting about the teen’s death on Facebook.
Lawyer Charles Grose represents Michael Beaty Jr., 30, who is accused of strangling 19-year-old Emily Asbill at a June party in Clinton, South Carolina. Last month Grose asked Judge Eugene Griffith Jr. to extend a gag order covering the lawyers to the victim’s mother and other family members, report the Associated Press and the Clinton Chronicle.
Grose said comments by Asbill’s mother, Emily Joy, at a rally in Greenwood and on Facebook could prevent his client from getting a fair trial. His motion includes links to Facebook posts with pictures of Asbill, requests for prayers, and links to stories about domestic violence, AP says. The Greenwood rally was titled “No More Lies & Bruises.”
According to the Clinton Chronicle account, Grose told the judge he objected to the implication that Asbill was a victim of domestic violence. “This has gone far beyond a grieving family. Mr. Beaty is being called a murderer in Facebook and in a public place in Greenwood,” Grose said.
In a brief response to questions about the case by the ABA Journal, Grose said he expects the judge to issue a written decision in the near future. “We believe the case should be tried in the courtroom, based on the evidence, with all interested parties having a fair opportunity to respond,” he said.
Asbill’s mother, Emily Joy, told AP she will fight the request to gag her. “This has been a healing process to me to be able to talk about things and have people pray for me. If I am shut down, I don’t know what I’m going to do,” she said.
Local newspapers and the South Carolina Press Association are contesting the gag order. The coroner’s office cited the order in refusing to release the autopsy results, according to a prior Clinton Chronicle storypublished on the media group’s website.