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Officers charged in New Orleans bridge deaths to appear in court

By the CNN Wire Staff
Two people were shot and killed along the Danziger Bridge (shown) in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina hit the area.
Two people were shot and killed along the Danziger Bridge (shown) in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina hit the area.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The four officers face charges in post-Katrina shootings
  • The Friday hearings will determine whether they will remain in jail until trial
  • The shootings occurred on Danziger Bridge in 2005
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New Orleans, Louisiana (CNN) -- Four New Orleans police officers accused of killing two men after Hurricane Katrina are scheduled to appear in federal courtrooms Friday.

The officers are charged with multiple counts of conspiracy, weapons and civil rights violations in connection with the well-publicized 2005 shootings in the infamous Danziger Bridge incident.

The hearings Friday will determine whether the officers will be held in jail until the trial, according to court documents.

Three of the officers -- Kenneth Bowen, Robert Gisevius and Anthony Villavaso -- are scheduled to have their morning hearings in a federal court in New Orleans.

The fourth officer, Robert Faulcon, is scheduled to have his afternoon hearing in a Houston, Texas, courtroom.

The shootings occurred at the bridge on September 4, 2005, six days after Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast.

An indictment alleges that two separate shootings at the bridge resulted in the deaths of a teenager and a 40-year-old disabled man.

The indictment contends the four officers opened fire, killing 19-year-old James Brissette. Minutes later, Faulcon allegedly shot and killed 40-year-old Ronald Madison.

The indictment also says police supervisors Arthur Kaufman and Gerard Dugue helped the other officers to obstruct justice during the subsequent investigations.

An earlier investigation launched by the local district attorney resulted in charges but no convictions. Federal prosecutors then moved in and launched a new investigation.

The officers could face the death penalty if convicted, but prosecutors have said in the past that they have not decided whether to seek the death penalty.