The trial of a former Columbus police officer who is accused of shooting an unarmed black man is still on hold.
Canyon Boykin’s trial was moved from Columbus to Tylertown because of pre-trial publicity and concerns about the ability to hold a fair trial in Lowndes County.
However, the trial has been repeatedly delayed since the original Oct. 16, 2017, trial date, and county officials have received little communication from the Golden Triangle about when the trial might be rescheduled.
“I received a list of possible dates from them, and I told them none of those dates would work,” Walthall County Circuit Clerk Vernon Alford said. “I haven’t heard anything else in six months.”
He said the Walthall County Courthouse has only one courtroom, which is used for circuit, chancery, youth and drug courts, and one of those was in term for all of the dates suggested from the 16th Circuit,
He suggested to the officials that a Walthall jury be drawn and then transported and sequestered in Columbus, but nothing has been communicated about that possibility, either.
Boykin is accused of shooting Ricky Ball on Oct. 16, 2015. Ball fled on foot from a traffic stop, according The Commercial Dispatch newspaper of Columbus.
Boykin is white. Ball was black.
Many aspects of the case are in dispute. Boykin did not turn on his body camera and record the incident, according to other media reports.
A gun found with or near Ball’s body was discovered to be that of another police officer, who did not report it stolen until almost two weeks after it was picked up as evidence.
Walthall County was chosen from among six counties suggested to host the trial, three each suggested by prosecutors and defense lawyers. Walthall was a defense suggestion, along with Montgomery and Attala.
Prosecutors suggested Marshall, Lauderdale and Pike counties.
After Walthall County was selected, county supervisors, Tylertown officials and Sheriff Kyle Breland were apprehensive about the atmosphere that might surround the trial and prepared to step up security around the courthouse during the trial.
“Nobody wanted that trial here,” Alford said.
April Edwards, court administrator for Circuit Judge Lee Coleman of West Point, has not responded to a message seeking further information.