A defense attorney argued last week that race and mental health played a role in the case of a Massachusetts man charged with the shooting of two Falmouth police officers in July 2018.
Brian Kelley, the attorney representing Malik Koval, requested that his client receive a sentence between 5 and 7 1/2 years and requested a change of venue to take the case out of Barnstable County, the Cape Cod Times reported.
Falmouth police officers Donald DeMiranda and Ryan Moore were wounded when responding to a report of a man yelling and throwing trash in the street outside Koval's mother's home. DeMiranda was shot in the shoulder and Moore was grazed on the neck.
According to the defendant’s sentencing memorandum, Koval was diagnosed with bipolar disorder with elements of paranoia and grandiose thoughts.
Koval was indicted by a Barnstable County grand jury on charges including armed assault to murder, assault and battery with a firearm and assault and battery on a police officer.
DeMiranda spoke with Koval outside and pursued him when he ran into his mother’s home.
DeMiranda said in a statement that Koval went into the kitchen and picked up a bag and that he thought he was going for a knife.
Kelley argued that Koval acted in self-defense.
“The officer came into his house,” Kelley said arguing that if this was a civilian Koval would have been within his rights.
Kelley also argued that race played a role in how officers handled Koval.
“In this world we live in today we know that there are examples of African Americans being treated in a different way than their white counterparts by police,” Kelley said.
Kelley cited that continued coverage from the Cape Cod Times and YouTube videos that have increased the case’s exposure in the local community and requested that the court hold an evidentiary hearing about the motion to change the venue.
Assistant District Attorney Michael Donovan opposed the motion arguing that the “half-dozen or so media reports” were written over a year ago and that no jury member would be so preoccupied with the case as to “prejudge his guilt.”