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Kenneth Gleason’s phone records place him in area of Donald Smart’s murder; show searches for Nazis, genocide

Kenneth Gleason, 23 (Source: EBRSO)
Kenneth Gleason, 23 (Source: EBRSO)
Updated: Apr. 21, 2021 at 7:57 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Phone records presented in court Wednesday, April 21, show Kenneth Gleason repeatedly searched for Nazis, Nazi propaganda, white supremacists, and genocide, among numerous other things in the days leading up to and after the killings of two black men and the shooting of his neighbor’s house, the only black household on his family’s street at the time.

Gleason is charged with two counts of first-degree murder for killing Bruce Cofield and Donald Smart back in September of 2017.

The phone records indicate after Gleason allegedly shot into his neighbor’s home, he searched for aggravated assault. After he reportedly shot and killed Cofield and Smart, the records indicate he looked up news stories over the investigation into the murders.

Defense attorney Jarrett Ambeau argued the prosecution was cherry-picking results in Gleason’s search history. Ambeau made the case Gleason’s internet search history included a vast array of topics, including both good items, such as Jesus and the Christian faith, along with European artists, and bad, including Nazis.

The phone records, which were the center of most of Wednesday’s testimony, also indicated Gleason was in the area of Alaska Street at the same time Donald Smart was killed. According to an FBI agent called to testify, Gleason’s cell phone pinged off a cell tower nearest to the crime scene at the same time Smart was gunned down. The agent testified this was the only time Gleason’s phone was in that area in the previous 45 days.

Attorney Hays Town argued the location provided by phone records did not put Gleason at the murder scene, specifically pointing out the records simply showed his phone was somewhere in the area.

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Day six of Gleason’s trial ended after the two sides repeatedly found themselves in the weeds, arguing over forensics used to obtain Gleason’s arrest warrant. Gleason’s defense team argued detectives used preliminary ballistics information regarding shell casings to obtain the warrant. Ambeau argued the preliminary information given to detectives was inaccurate. A second arrest warrant was eventually issued in the case after the forensics report was released.

Gleason’s trial will resume Thursday, April 22. Both sides will continue arguments over the legitimacy of that arrest warrant.

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