TUCSON, Ariz. — Prosecutors have agreed in principle to unseal some of the case against people accused of killing U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry more than a year ago near the Arizona-Mexico border.
The Arizona Daily Star reports that six news organizations argued in a Dec. 19 court filing that the docket and all records in the case should be unsealed.
The news organizations argued that the public has a right to inspect the records of the case and attend any criminal trials that might come out of it.
Prosecutors said they object to records being unsealed that reveal the identity of any charged defendant who has not yet been arrested, but they are willing to unseal the remaining records. The identity of one charged defendant has already been revealed.
Terry was killed in an exchange of gunfire on Dec. 14, 2010, when he and other agents were looking for bandits in a desert area more than 10 miles north of Nogales.
Two rifles found at the scene were the same weapons being monitored by federal firearms agents as part of a gun trafficking investigation. The probe was intended to track firearms bought by straw purchasers but was heavily criticized because agents lost track of hundreds of guns. Critics have called for Attorney General Eric Holder's resignation for the investigation.
One suspect, Manuel Osorio-Arellanes, was struck by gunfire and later told investigators he was part of a five-man "rip crew."
Osorio-Arellanes was indicted April 20 on one count of second-degree murder and five other crimes. The indictment included blacked-out references to additional defendants. But in the ensuing months, the entire case was sealed.
A judge must approve the news outlets' entry in the case and has the authority to order records unsealed.
The news organizations that asked for the case to be unsealed are the Arizona Daily Star, The Associated Press, The Arizona Republic and Phoenix television stations KPNX, KPHO and KNXV.
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