Marshall County High School Shooting Trial Moving To Christian County

May 18, 2019

Credit Matt Markgraf

The trial for the teenager accused in the Marshall County High School shooting is moving to Christian County.

The Marshall Circuit Court approved an agreed order on Friday to move the trial to Christian Circuit Court, set for June 1, 2020.

Attorneys are expecting a large jury pool. Gabe Parker’s attorneys requested a venue change, arguing it’d be difficult to find an unbiased jury in the close-knit Marshall County community. The prosecution agreed the trial should be moved, but wanted to keep it as close to home as possible.

The defense also requested a hearing for a motion to suppress evidence scheduled for August 19.

Parker is charged with two counts of murder and several counts of first degree assault after police say he opened fire on classmates, killing two and injuring others.On the Venue Change

Commonwealth’s Attorney Dennis Foust said he felt the change of venue was the right thing to do. He said he wants to try the case once and doesn’t want to take any chances. “What we don’t want to do is get three days into jury selection and have to reissue summons for another jury pool.”

The Commonwealth bears certain expenses with regard to transportation and housing people overnight for a trial. Foust said, with the trial in Hopkinsville, he can drive to the trial and drive back home. “I feel like I will be better prepared as a prosecutor to try this case. Our families will be able to have that same - it will be less inconvenience on them.”

Defense attorney Tom Griffiths said he’s happy about the results of the hearing. He said he anticipated the court would grant the change of venue motion given the high amount of publicity and the large number of witnesses in Marshall County.

He said it was important to move the case far enough so that there wasn’t a huge amount of negative reaction to the amount of media and publicity that’s out there.

“This case is known throughout the entire state. It will be difficult to find twelve people who don’t know about it, but it’s not a question of whether or not they know about the existence of it. It’s whether or not they’re personally invested already in an outcome,” Griffiths said. 

 

Commonwealth's Attorney Dennis Foust
Credit Matt Markgraf

On the Venue Change

Commonwealth’s Attorney Dennis Foust said he felt the change of venue was the right thing to do. He said he wants to try the case once and doesn’t want to take any chances. “What we don’t want to do is get three days into jury selection and have to reissue summons for another jury pool.”

The Commonwealth bears certain expenses with regard to transportation and housing people overnight for a trial. Foust said, with the trial in Hopkinsville, he can drive to the trial and drive back home. “I feel like I will be better prepared as a prosecutor to try this case. Our families will be able to have that same - it will be less inconvenience on them.”

Defense attorney Tom Griffiths said he’s happy about the results of the hearing. He said he anticipated the court would grant the change of venue motion given the high amount of publicity and the large number of witnesses in Marshall County.

He said it was important to move the case far enough so that there wasn’t a huge amount of negative reaction to the amount of media and publicity that’s out there.

“This case is known throughout the entire state. It will be difficult to find twelve people who don’t know about it, but it’s not a question of whether or not they know about the existence of it. It’s whether or not they’re personally invested already in an outcome,” Griffiths said. 

Motion To Suppress

Griffiths said he didn’t want to get into the details of the motion to suppress until after the hearing. “We’ve had some problem with witnesses not wanting to be forthcoming with us and we’ve had some resistance. So, what I don’t want to do is say something to you today that goes out and changes the perspective, or especially the testimony of a witness in a case,” he explained.

He said the main goal of the hearing is to hone the evidence down to a final form so it can go before a jury. He noted that suppression hearings are an uphill battle and the burden is always on the person moving for the judge to consider the evidence, which would be, in this case the defense.  

Foust said the prosecution is fighting the motion to suppress. He said it wouldn’t be appropriate to comment on this time. “Obviously, if they’re filing a motion to suppress something then they’re wanting to keep out something that we want in. They want it suppressed. We want a ruling in our favor,” Foust said. He expects witnesses in this hearing, and for it to take about two or three hours.

Judge James Jameson will preside over the trial.

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