Former DeKalb County Police Officer Robert Olsen (center) talks with his defense team — including co-counsel Don Samuel (right) — during a morning break in Olsen’s pre-trial immunity hearing at the DeKalb County Superior Court in Decatur, Ga., on Tuesday, May 22, 2018. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Olsen trial rescheduled for September 23

The murder trial of former DeKalb County police officer Robert “Chip” Olsen, which was supposed to have begun last week, has been rescheduled for September 23.

Saturday marks the fourth anniversary of the death of Afghanistan War veteran Anthony Hill, shot twice by Olsen after the officer said Hill ran towards him, ignoring commands to stop. 

Prosecutors say Hill, who had stripped naked — a reaction to his decision to stop taking a drug prescribed for his bipolar disorder — approached Olsen in hopes the officer would help him. 

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DeKalb Superior Court Judge LaTisha Dear Jackson, appointed last month after three judges recused themselves, had been consulting with the defense and prosecutors to find an open date. 

Dear Jackson admitted in recent court hearing she knew little about the case other than the defendant was a former cop facing murder charges. 

The trial was put on hold less than two weeks before it was to begin following Judge J.P. Boulee’s surprise recusal. His name was listed as a sponsor on a flyer distributed by DeKalb District Attorney Sherry Boston, who was the presenter of a 5K run to benefit the Women’s Resource Center to End Domestic Violence. With Boston’s office prosecuting the Olsen case, Boulee made the decision to step aside, saying “judges must disqualify themselves from cases in which their impartiality might reasonably be questioned.” 

Two judges subsequently selected at random by court administrators promptly passed, citing potential conflicts of interest. Dear Jackson, elected last year to succeed the retiring Daniel Coursey, a 36-year veteran of the DeKalb bench, was next up and accepted the assignment. 

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