<
>

Etienne loses bid to delay March 20 robbery trial

2/28/2006 - Boxing

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Former heavyweight boxer Clifford
Etienne has lost a bid to delay his scheduled March 20 trial on
charges of robbing a Baton Rouge business and trying to shoot
police officers during a chase.

Defense attorney Jim Holt asked for more time Monday to have a
neurologist determine whether years of boxing left Etienne with
brain damage. Etienne, 35, of Prairieville, La., raised insanity as a
possible defense when he pleaded not guilty and not guilty by
reason of insanity at his arraignment.

Etienne faces two counts of attempted first-degree murder, two
counts of armed robbery, two counts of second-degree kidnapping,
one count each of attempted second-degree murder, illegal use of a
weapon, attempted carjacking and felon in possession of a firearm.

According to a police affidavit, Etienne fired a shot and forced
his way into the check cashing business and took more than $1,900
on Aug. 10. He tried to hijack one car with two children inside and
hijacked another with two children inside before wrecking the
second vehicle and being caught by police, investigators said.

Police said Etienne tried to fire at police and one of the
drivers, but the gun jammed both times.

Etienne, a former high school football star who converted to
boxing while serving a 40-year prison sentence in Louisiana for
armed robbery, was paroled in 1998 after serving 10 years and
became a professional boxer.

In 2001, Etienne signed a multifight deal with Showtime worth $1
million, but his career went downhill quickly, largely coming to an
end with a 49-second first-round loss to Mike Tyson in February
2003.

In January 2004, then-Gov. Mike Foster denied a pardon to
Etienne.