Trial Starts Tuesday for Michigan Man Accused of Killing Pro-Life Advocate

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 22, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Trial Starts Tuesday for Michigan Man Accused of Killing Pro-Life Advocate

by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 22
, 2010

Owosso, MI ( — The trial of Harlan Drake, the Michigan man who stands accused of killing pro-life advocate James Pouillon as he protested abortion outside a local high school, begins on Tuesday. Prosecutors say it may be difficult to get a fair jury to consider the case because local people knew both men involved.

Jury selection begins tomorrow, but in this small Michigan town everyone knows everyone else.

As a result, there may not be a way to get a fair-minded jury that either doesn’t love or hate abortion and James Pouillon‘s frequent protests of it.

However, Judge Gerald Lostracco, according to an AP report, says he will not move the trial unless he becomes convinced a jury pool will not be impartial.

Drake, a 33-year-old truck driver, is charged with double homicide in the case that saw him kill a local businessman with whom he had a feud and then Pouillon, who he reportedly didn’t like because he would sometimes use graphic pictures to oppose abortion.

In what has become an interesting twist to the case, the prosecution has asked to move the case to another county to find impartial jurors.

Assistant Prosecutor Sara Edwards talked with the Flint Journal about the problems.

“I felt that there were definitely strong opinions of Mr. Pouillon and didn’t know if it would affect a jury’s decision,” Edwards said. “We have to attempt to get a jury. If we are able to select a jury, that’s great. If we’re not able, the judge may in fact change the venue.”

Meanwhile, Drake’s defense attorney says the plan is still to present a case to the jury claiming Drake was temporarily insane at the time of the shootings.

“Obviously we have to have some basis, but we believe that we can establish under the criteria of the law that Mr. Drake was legally insane at the time of these killings,” the public defender said. “Our belief was that (Pouillon’s death) was not politically motivated."

Drake has already admitted killing Pouillon and businessman Mike Fuoss and a trial has been scheduled for February 23 in Shiawassee County Circuit Court. there, the jury will assess Drake’s mental status at the time of the killings.

If Drake is found not guilty by reason of insanity, he will be sent to a state mental facility for evaluation and possible treatment, but he could be released back into the community.

Drake has already been treated for mental health issues after he was declared incompetent to stand trial, and his competency was later established by the court.

Pouillon was a regular protester at the Feminine Health Care Clinic in Flint, Michigan, operated by abortionist Alberto Hodari.

Since his death, Hodari has placed that abortion clinic up for sale in the wake of a lawsuit filed by Caitlin Bruce who alleges that Hodari forced an abortion on her there even though she had withdrawn her consent after viewing her pre-born baby on ultrasound.

Operation Rescue eventually named Pouillon its pro-life person of the year.

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