From Media Reports
BAY ST. LOUIS – A judge has ordered a change of venue for the re-trial of Edna Mae Sanders and issued a gag order in the case of her husband's death after she doused him with hot cooking oil.
Circuit Court Judge Larry Bourgeois has ordered the trial moved from Hancock County to Jones County. The trial will start April 15.
In a separate order, the judge forbid officers of the court and witnesses from discussing the case before trial.
A Hancock County jury in 2008 found Sanders guilty in the 2006 murder of her husband, Sherman Sanders, at their Diamondhead home.
Hancock County first-responders had gone to the couple's Diamondhead on July 27, 2006, and said Sherman Sanders, 53, told them his wife had poured hot oil on him while he was asleep. He died about a week later. Edna Mae Sanders maintained he was not asleep and thought he had gone to retrieve a gun from under their bed when she threw hot oil on him to protect herself and her children.
She had spent nearly five years in prison before her conviction was overturned.
The penalty for murder is life in prison.
The state Court of Appeals overturned her conviction in March 2011, ruling the trial judge at the time unfairly excluded testimony on allegations of her husband's violent history and character.
The Mississippi Supreme Court upheld the appellate court ruling in January, agreeing the jury should have been allowed to hear about Sanders' state of mind during the incident and her grounds for reasonable apprehension that she and her children were in serious imminent danger.
The rulings resulted in an order for a new trial.
Sanders, 51, was released from prison in April to await court action. Bourgeois, who was not the original trial judge, filed his orders with the circuit clerk's office Tuesday after reviewing testimony from a hearing Oct. 16. His order to move the trial away from the Coast said “the impact of saturation media publicly upon the attitudes of a community impairs the ability of the defendant to receive a fair trial in Hancock County.”
The gag order prohibits court personnel and witnesses “from discussing or commenting on any aspects of this case.” However, it allows the clerk's office to advise the media of motions or trial settings in the case.