A man accused of ambushing a Lake Charles police officer in 2009 invoked his right to a speedy trial and was released on his own recognizance Thursday.
Judge Kent Savoy ordered Joshua Wayne Royster, 26, to stay away from anyone else involved in the case — alleged victims, witnesses, former co-defendants — or be sent back to jail.
Savoy read Royster a list of people he was not to have contact with and told him he was going to have to live as a “recluse.”
Royster had been jailed since September 2009 on charges of attempted first-degree murder. His bond was originally $2 million, although that was later reduced to $101,000.
Royster was scheduled to go to trial this week, but prosecutors asked for a continuance because they are seeking DNA evidence from Royster.
The trial date was reset for March 11.
Royster was one of six men indicted on first-degree murder charges in 2009 after what police said was a plot to ambush Lake Charles police Lt. Arnold Bellow as he left a police substation.
Charges against the rest of the men have been dropped. This week charges were dropped against Anthony Aaron, Eddie Banks and Edmond Lawrence, and they were subpoenaed to testify at Royster’s March trial.
James Burks, Royster’s attorney, declined comment.
Prosecutor David Kimball said that when he began to prepare the case for trial earlier this year, he requested DNA in September, but any DNA testing will not be available until December because the local crime lab is in the process of moving.
“Because of the seriousness of it, when dealing with cases where a client is facing serious time, attorneys are going to go the extra mile and make sure all the T’s are crossed and I’s dotted,” Kimball said.
He said he plans to request Burks’ removal from the case because Burks also represents a witness in the case in a separate matter.
Royster was previously represented by James Garahan and by Michelle Breaux before him.
The case was originally before Judge Wilford Carter, but he was recused in 2010 after the prosecution filed a motion saying that Carter had a “dislike” of Bellow. The motion cited several cases Bellow had investigated that were brought before Carter.