A murder suspect found guilty in the court of former St. Clair County Circuit Judge Michael Cook in April 2013 is getting a second chance to prove innocence.
William Cosby, convicted of shooting and killing Antwan Thomas, is currently at trial in Circuit Judge Bob Haida's court claiming self defense.
Haida granted Cosby a new trial in October 2013, citing a rule that requires a new trial upon a showing of a judge’s prejudice. Cook was arrested on heroin possession and weapons charges a month after Cosby was convicted, and is currently serving a two-year prison sentence.
Cosby's new trial began Wednesday wih Assistant State's Attorneys Deb Phillips and Will Clay prosecuting the case. Public defenders Lloyd Cueto and Justin Kuehn are appearing for Cosby.
Twelve jurors and four alternates have been seated.
Before he had been granted a new trial, Cosby pleaded for a new public defender, saying that lead counsel, Charles Baricevic, had hampered assistant counsel Cueto in making a claim of self defense.
He also had made claims that Baricevic would not amend a new trial motion to allege that Cook’s heroin addiction deprived him of a fair trial.
Haida denied Cosby’s motion for a new lawyer, but Baricevic amended the new trial motion as Cosby wished.
Cosby asked for a new lawyer again last December, writing that Baricevic would not argue self defense or communicate with his family.
Haida again denied the motion, but Cueto entered his appearance for Cosby and filed notice that Cosby would claim self defense.