TULSA – The discussion continued for the defense of former reserve deputy Robert Bates during a pre-trial hearing held this week that possibly shed light on what’s to come for the defense.
Only one more pre-trial hearing follows the one held on Wednesday before former reserve deputy Robert Bates’ case is brought to trial.
Bates is accused of second degree manslaughter charges in the shooting of unarmed suspect Eric Harris. Bates shot Harris during an undercover operation in April 2015. According to Bates, he mistook his gun for a Taser.
On Wednesday, most of the discussion centered on the six doctors being considered to give expert testimony for the defense in the trial. Of the six, each ranged from cardiology to psychology to pathology. According to the state, there was not a clear understanding of each expert’s opinion and its relation to possible testimony during the trial.
Eventually Judge Bill Musseman sided with the defense saying that the state should have adequate amount of time to examine the defense’s discovery before the next pre-trail date on April 12.
SPECIAL SECTION: Robert Bates and Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office investigation
The call for the doctor’s testimony could be a peek into what the defense is expecting to deploy during the trial: Eric Harris’ medical history and cause of death.
In addition, the defense argued that Eric Harris’ brother, Andre Harris, should be questioned about the possibility of a drug ring in operation at the time of the shooting. An entire binder was brought forth with documents pertaining to Eric Harris’ criminal history, according to the defense.
“They thought they were dealing with a very, very dangerous man. But what they were dealing with was not only a desperate man, but extremely dangerous man that was going selling drugs and guns,” said Clark Brewster, Robert Bates’ attorney.
The final hearing for Bates is scheduled for April 12, with the trial being scheduled for April 18.
Earlier in this investigation, two judges recused themselves from the case due to conflicts.
In the wake of Bates’ case, the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office underwent a grand jury trial and several in-depth investigations.