Etienne loses bid to delay March 20 robbery trial

Updated: February 28, 2006, 11:01 AM ET
Associated Press

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.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press