The case in which 21-year-old Aaron Dakota Biddle was shot and killed on Basswood Drive in May 2018 will go to trial.
After extensive conversation with the Biddle family, prosecutor Crystle Carrion said a trial date of Feb. 11, 2020, had been selected for Jadarius Knox.
The mother of the victim, Samantha Baltazar, had been openly critical when the state earlier downgraded a criminal homicide charge against Knox to the less serious voluntary manslaughter.
Voluntary manslaughter carries a sentence of 3-15 years upon conviction. The original charge carried up to life in prison.
Judge Don Poole said the case will go to trial on voluntary manslaughter since the charge was earlier reduced.
At an earlier preliminary hearing, General Sessions Court Judge Gary Starnes rejected a defense argument of self-defense and bound a criminal homicide charge against the 23-year-old Knox to the Grand Jury.
He remains under the same $750,000 bond. The judge said Knox had "snickered" several times during the testimony.
Knox is now free on bond.
Judge Starnes said at the time Knox shot the victim in the head on the morning that he was not a threat to him.
Mike Little of the Public Defender's Office said Knox "had no duty to retreat" from inside a duplex on Basswood Drive when Biddle was attacking him with his fists. The shooting happened after Knox grabbed a handgun from under the couch and went outside.
Attorney Little said, "It's self-defense, your honor. Mr. Knox has done nothing wrong."
Prosecutor AnCharlene Davis at the hearing pointed out that in his statement to police Knox said when Biddle came outside waving his XBox and asked "Are you going to shoot me?" that Knox said he thought in his head, "I'm not going to fight you, but I'm going to kill you."
The female resident of the duplex said Knox is the father of her second child. She said they broke up and she began living with Biddle. She said she broke up with him after he found some items on her phone that enraged him. She said he knocked her to the ground and then head butted her.
She said Knox afterward would come by to see his one-year-old girl and sometimes stay the night. She said he was then when Biddle came over to gather his belongings.
The witness said Knox had advised her to bundle the items up and put them by the door. She said she did so and at first things seemed to go well. However, she said Biddle then spotted Knox on the couch playing XBox, and he became upset.
She said Biddle came inside and began grabbing items, including a jar of money that belonged to her. Biddle later threw a pickle jar at Knox and began punching him on the couch, causing him to bleed profusely. She said Knox did not fight back, but put up his arms to shield his face.
The witness said Biddle had made numerous threats toward her and Knox.
Knox told a detective, "This man was ruthless to me for no reason." He said he slept on the couch when he stayed over at the woman's house and Biddle had nothing to be jealous about.
He said, on the other hand, he had been living a good life. "I'm not in a gang. I work 50-60 hours a week. I don't do drugs."
Knox said he had found the gun used in the shooting while picking up trash along Highway 58 up toward Birchwood.