Milwaukee Reporter Ordered to Appear at Alabama Murder Trial


A Milwaukee County judge on Tuesday ordered a local TV reporter to attend a murder trial next month in Alabama, where prosecutors say the reporter is a material witness.

The Milwaukee Journal says that Cody Holyoke of WTMJ represented himself at a brief hearing before Circuit Judge David Borowski.

Borowski said such requests from out-of-state courts are rare, and so he would presume it was "rather serious" case and request. He and Holyoke agreed that whether Holyoke may be able to invoke Alabama's reporter's shield law is an issue for the courts there.

"If they need me to do it," Holyoke told the judge, referring to testifying at trial, "I have no problem doing my civic duty."

Holyoke was working for WSFA-TV in 2011 when he was part of the news media group covering a deadly shooting at a community college. 

According to court records, Holyoke witnessed Thomas Franklin May III surrender and "make an incriminating statement regarding the crime.

Lee County, Alabama authorities asked Milwaukee County to compel Holyoke's attendance. Tuesday's hearing was on an "order to show cause" why the Alabama petition should not be granted.

Holyoke declined to discuss the matter at length after the brief hearing.

Franklin is charged with killing his mother-in-law and shooting his wife and her grandmother outside a community college in April 2011, in view of his 4-year-old daughter. He could face the death penalty if convicted of capital murder.

Trial is scheduled to begin Dec. 5.