Judge: Shirts with Wilton DWI victim’s name can’t be worn in court

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As the murder trial of Justin Rodriguez continues in Saratoga County Court, friends and family of the victim, Alex Bleickhardt, are not allowed to wear shirts bearing his name.

Rodriguez is being tried on murder charges in the September death of Bleickhardt on the Northway in Wilton.

Prosecutors accuse Rodriguez of driving drunk and crashing into and killing Bleickardt – a tow truck driver – who was helping a disabled truck driver.

As the trial began, and during Rodriguez’s arraignment in February, his coworkers wore shirts reading, “Tow Lives Matter,” and “In Memory of Alex.” However, the defense objected, saying the shirts could influence the jury.

Judge Jim Murphy agreed, citing a higher court ruling that the defendant’s right to a fair trial supersedes courtroom spectators’ rights to free speech.

The ruling hasn’t deterred Bleickhardt’s friends and co-workers from attending court each day.