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Vincent Simmons’ attorney wants district attorney’s office recused

Published: Jan. 5, 2021 at 4:30 PM CST
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MARKSVILLE, La. (KALB) - A hearing to recuse one of the prosecutors for Vincent Simmons, the Mansura man sentenced to 100 years at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola for the attempted aggravated rape of twin sisters in Marksville in 1977, has been rescheduled.

Justin Bonus is Simmons’ new attorney. Bonus filed a 300-page motion back in October with new evidence that he said should lead to the district attorney’s office being recused from the case.

According to Bonus, he had a conversation last year with former Avoyelles Parish NAACP President Allen Holmes, and District Attorney Charles Riddle III, where Bonus claims Riddle admitted that Simmons’ previous defense attorney did not receive discovery evidence, which is known as a Brady violation.

Riddle denied saying that.

“He’s a material witness in this case,” Bonus said. “And if you’re a material witness there are rules of professional responsibility that state that if you’re a witness in a case you can’t prosecute, you can’t be an attorney in the case. I am saying that his credibility is an issue, that he needs to step back, his office needs to step back because it’s not like he’s an assistant district attorney. He is the district attorney. It’s our position that the office needs to step back they need to recuse themselves, or the court needs to do it for them. And we need to get a new set of prosecutors in here to look at this look at the evidence. You’ve seen the evidence. Vincent Simmons…there’s not even a debate, he’s innocent.”

We reached out to District Attorney Charles Riddle about the claims Bonus made.

“Personally, I believe he just totally misunderstood exactly what I was saying and of course I have to testify as to that as to what the interpretation of it is because his interpretation is erroneous,” Riddle said. “There was no admission on my part to anything.”

Simmons couldn’t be transported to the courthouse due to COVID-19 restrictions. They’re going to try again on February 17 in front of Judge Kerry Spruill.

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