The trial for a local man accused of fatally shooting a popular Dawson County Little League coach last November could be moved out of Dawson County.
Herman James “Bo” Seppenfield, 51, of Dawsonville, is accused of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony crime in connection with the death of Alan Brandon Weaver, 37, on Nov. 22, 2014.
Seppenfield’s attorney, G. Richard Stepp, was granted an order reserving the right to change the venue by Superior Court Judge Jason Deal on Sept. 8.
“… Having alleged the potential that he (Seppenfield) could be deprived a fair trial because of pervasive and potentially prejudicial pretrial publicity, and defendant having moved the court to enter an order reserving his right to move the case to another county beyond a radius of 50 miles from Dawson County … is granted,” the order states.
Weaver died from two gunshot wounds fired at close range during a fight at a home on Whitney Place in Dawson County.
Weaver’s son had attended a birthday party the evening of Nov. 22 and wanted to leave, reportedly after a situation of adults drinking alcohol made him feel uncomfortable.
“The boy called his father to say he wanted to come home,” Dawson County Sheriff’s Capt. Tony Wooten said at the time.
Weaver picked up his son and later returned to the property with another man to confront the people living there. Shortly afterward, an altercation ensued, Wooten said.
A call was placed to 911 around 10:30 p.m. and shots were fired shortly afterward, he said.
Seppenfield was arrested Dec. 4, 12 days after the alleged incident. According to court documents, he has pleaded not guilty and remains incarcerated in Dawson County. Bond was set at $250,000.
Also on Sept. 8, Stepp withdrew a request to suppress Seppenfield’s statements to law enforcement officers.
POSSIBLE NEW EVIDENCE
Separately, Stepp requested a first motion for continuance of Seppenfield’s trial pending the arrival of new evidence.
“Defendant has just learned of the existence of certain relevant and material evidence which will not be available to him before trial date … GBI crime lab forensic analysis reports pertaining to certain items seized by investigating officers at the alleged incident location and thereafter,” the motion states.
Judge Deal denied the state’s motion to introduce evidence against Seppenfield of “other crimes.”
“The state has failed to prove by a preponderance of evidence that the incident forming the basis of evidence, in fact, occurred,” the motion states, “to wit, proof of motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge … Intent, in this case, is not at issue.”
Further, the state’s request to admit evidence showing the defendant is “aggressive by nature” is character evidence and is explicitly forbidden by Georgia law, court documents show.
Admitting that evidence into court proceedings, the order says, would be “substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice to defendant, of confusion of the issues, or of misleading the jury.”
Also indicted in the case was Tory Judge Miguez, 25, of Cartersville, who is accused of two counts of aggravated assault, by striking a person with a handgun, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony crime, according to court documents.
Miguez was arrested Jan. 14 and released Feb. 2 on a $35,000 bond. His trial is scheduled this week, court records show.
The two men are being tried separately.