Attorney's illness postpones murder trial

LAWRENCEVILLE -- A defense attorney's illness has postponed a murder trial that was set to open Wednesday.

The case against Lawrenceville resident and murder suspect Steven Green was continued in Gwinnett Superior Court because his attorney, Macklyn Smith, is sick.

The prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Chuck Efstration, said the case could be back in court as early as June 6, when both parties are expect to report for a trial calendar call.

Opening statements were expected Wednesday morning, Efstration said. Despite the delay, the murder case should be heard much sooner than most, because Green's attorney filed a demand for a speedy trial.

Green is accused of fatally shooting 24-year-old Anthony Augustus at an apartment complex near downtown Lawrenceville.

According to earlier testimony, Green and codefendant Isaac Sandoval, of Gainesville, conspired to burglarize a unit at Cedargate Apartments in hopes they would find the prescription painkiller Oxycontin.

Green had long known the tenant, Shyrome Marshall, and had bought pills from him before, a Lawrenceville police detective previously testified.

Marshall was assaulted as he came in the apartment but managed to run to a neighbor's for help. Augustus walked in behind him, fought with the burglars and was shot once in the waist. He later died at Gwinnett Medical Center.

At the time, investigators said Augustus was merely giving Marshall a ride home that night, and that nothing implicated him as being involved in the drug trade.

Police arrested Sandoval two days after Marshall led them to Green. Both are charged with murder, armed robbery, aggravated assault and weapons possession during the commission of a crime. Sandoval's trial is pending.