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Attorney: Christopher Calmer attempted suicide in jail cell

Christopher Calmer appeared in court Friday with a large white bandage on his neck, though it is not clear if that is related to his suicide attempt / Tavares Jones (WGXA)

FORSYTH, Ga. -- In court on Friday morning, attorneys for a man accused of killing a Monroe County deputy in 2014 said that he attempted suicide on Thursday while being held in the Butts County Jail.

Christopher Calmer appeared in court with a large white bandage on his neck, though it is not clear if that is related to his suicide attempt.

Calmer is accused of killing Dep. Michael Norris in 2014 when he and his partner, Dep. Jeff Wilson, responded to Calmer's home for a suicide call. When the deputies arrived at Calmer's door, Calmer reportedly opened fire, killing Norris and injuring Wilson.

Calmer's mental competency was a topic of debate throughout his pre-trial hearings, with his defense team alleging that a past spinal surgery causes him severe pain.

At one point during the pre-trial phase, Calmer was taken from court in an ambulance and then was permitted to lay on a gurney and even a reclining chair during proceedings. At another time, Calmer shouted profanities at the judge when he said he would not allow Calmer to lay on the floor.

In Friday's hearing, Calmer's attorney Gabrielle Pittman requested that all records and surveillance regarding Calmer's suicide attempt be handed over to the defense.

Pittman also expressed her concern with contact between Monroe County deputies and the jury. She said it would be inappropriate for jurors to be sequestered and supervised by Monroe deputies due to their emotional tie to the case.

In response, Monroe County Sheriff John Cary Bittick said that the current plan is to bring an outside agency in to handle jurors. Pittman also raised concerns about Sheriff Bittick having ex parte conversations with the judge about Calmer's mental status as an inmate.

The judge announced that the jury selection process will start on May 1 with the jury to be selected no later than May 19. The jury pool will consist of Upson County residents.

Calmer's trial will begin on June 5.

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