Man accused in Taziki’s homicide waives preliminary hearing

Published: Sep. 28, 2023 at 8:48 PM CDT
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DAPHNE, Ala. (WALA) - A Mobile man accused of killing a Daphne restaurant manager appeared in court Thursday, September 28, 2023.  The case is now headed to the Grand Jury.  Prosecutors said Travis Lofton laid in wait for Jason Mallette to arrive to open Taziki’s Mediterranean Café and then pulled a gun and shot him to death.

Lofton and his attorney appeared in court, just to waive the preliminary hearing.  It’s something that doesn’t typically require a court appearance to do.

Travis Lofton made bail in the amount of $250,000 earlier this week and was in court wearing an ankle monitor as part of the conditions of making bail.  This is the third time a preliminary hearing has been scheduled in the case.  The first two were set for early and late August and both were reset.  Prosecutors said they were ready to submit evidence Thursday and don’t know why Lofton’s attorney, Eric Roberts chose to waive the hearing.

“Obviously, we’d have established the facts that show that Travis Lofton committed this homicide.  The standard burden of proof is probable cause at this point just like it is at the arrest section,” explained Baldwin County Assistant DA, Patrick Doggett.  “I don’t know if there’d have been any evidence from the defense side or not at this time.”

Lofton and his attorney quickly left the courtroom after waiving the hearing, not speaking with the media.  At the time of his arrest, investigators with Daphne Police said Lofton’s wife worked at the restaurant and that he believed there to be a grievance between her and Mallette.  They said surveillance video shows Lofton lying in wait for at least two hours before the shooting.

Several of Mallette’s family members were at the courthouse, once again awaiting the outcome of a hearing that never came.

“Obviously, they’re still in the process of trying to figure…you know, cope with what’s happened and still don’t understand why it happened, but they understand the process and what happened today is what needed to happen,” Doggett said.

With the court action, Lofton’s case has been bound over to the Grand Jury.  In the meantime, he will remain out of jail on bond.