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'Gag order' denied in suspected Stockton serial killer case

The defense wanted a protective order for media that extended to law enforcement and the district attorney, but the prosecution said the proposal was "too broad."

STOCKTON, Calif. — A judge denied a gag order request Tuesday morning in the case of Wesley Brownlee, who is accused of shooting and killing three people.

The ruling was made in a San Joaquin County Superior courtroom in Downtown Stockton.

"The court cannot find at this point a reasonable likelihood that the negative press would prevent Mr. Brownlee from receiving a fair trial and empaneling a fair and impartial jury," said San Joaquin County Superior Court judge Xapuri Villapudua.

The judge cited reasons for her ruling including, how the case is still in its early stages and what the prosecution stated in open court Monday that a trial may be a year or two away.

"We are also in the era of the 24-hour news cycle, and it's highly likely that this case will not have the coverage that it is currently generating," Villapudua added.

The judge added her ruling "doesn't condone inflammatory statements" made to the news media.

She urged those involved to "keep these issues in mind" in speaking to the media moving forward.

In her remarks, the judge also didn't rule out the possibility the defense could request a gag order in the future.

Brownlee's arraignment will continue on November 14th with more charges possible. Brownlee has yet to enter a plea.



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