Prosecutors ask for testimony to be excluded

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ Staff Writer

Prosecutors asked a judge to exclude testimony of a defense psychiatric expert from the murder trial of Jimmy Bentley during a hearing Friday in the 9th Judicial District Court.

District Attorney Matt Chandler gave the court several reasons for wanting Dr. Samuel Roll stricken as a witness, including outdated methods, a belief prosecutors had not been given full disclosure on test materials he may have used and lateness in response to requests for information, leaving prosecutors without time to research and prepare for Monday’s trial.

Chandler cited state and federal cases in which the same issue had arisen regarding Roll’s testimony.

Defense attorney Randy Knudson said Roll is going to testify about testing he conducted to determine Bentley’s mental state.

Judge Joe Parker, during the hearing, excluded a last-minute defense witness because he said the name was added too late to the witness list.

Knudson said the witness, a black man, is a longtime friend of Bentley, a white man. The testimony was intended to refute allegations Bentley’s shooting of Joseph Phillips, a 48-year-old black man, was racially motivated, Knudson said.

Phillips was shot and killed Christmas Eve in the parking lot of Econo Lodge on Mabry Drive.

The five-day murder trial for Bentley, 72, begins Monday.

Parker said he will render his decision regarding Roll the morning of trial prior to the proceedings.