The men accused of killing 17-year-old Marley Lion will be barred from learning the names of some witnesses in the case to protect those people from being influenced before trial, under an agreement reached Wednesday.
Prosecutors and the defense ironed out an agreement that will limit what information is available to suspects Julius Brown, 32; Bryan Rivers, 28; and Ryan Deleston, 31.
Each is charged with murder in the failed robbery that resulted in Lion’s death outside a West Ashley business on June 16. Police documents have accused Deleston of firing the five shots that killed Lion.
Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson had previously limited the evidence provided to the defendants because she was worried that it might leak from the jail and be used to influence witnesses on the outside. In particular, Wilson said she was concerned about revealing the names of cooperating witnesses.
During a December hearing on the matter, Public Defender Ashley Pennington said that limiting the suspects’ access to information could create an impression that not enough is being done to present the defendants’ side of the case.
The two sides agreed that information from the evidence, known as discovery, will be provided to the defendants, but identifying information, such as names and locations, will be redacted, Wilson said.
“They will not be allowed to have the DVDs or any physical evidence certainly in the jail, so there will be no photographs, nothing of that sort, only information that is relevant to their case and doesn’t identify anyone that cooperated,” Wilson said.
Despite the agreement, Wilson said she still is worried, but hopes this will make it tougher for anyone who intends to influence witnesses.
“What I believe is that this makes it a few steps harder for anyone out on the street to have this information and to put it together. Is it impossible? No. But it makes it not easy. It doesn’t give them a layup, a slam dunk for identifying people who frankly don’t need to be identified,” she said.