Accused Murderer Jacoby Goehler’s change of venue motion was denied on Sept. 19, His trial for the death of Davidlee Stansbury will begin Oct. 19 if no plea is reached by Sept. 24. In this photo, he was walked into court by former Sheriff Albert Roork for his first appearance last May.
By: Tammy Curtis, Managing Editor
The trial will go on. A change of venue filed by accused murderer Jacoy Goehler’s attorney Gerald A. Coleman was denied by Sixteenth District Circuit Judge Tim Weaver last week.
Coleman filed the motion for a change of venue citing media coverage and the family wearing tee shirts bearing a photo of victim Davidlee Stansbury as the grounds for a change of venue.
Coleman testified that the in-depth media coverage of the case in the county would make it hard for his client to get a get a fair trial in Fulton county, the majority of the articles cited were from this news agency.
Colemen, who admitted he was new to the case said, “The thing that struck me about the newspaper articles ,which we don’t get in most places I go is how thoroughly they went through every hearing. If you read through them, they talked, even in the ones about the mother and the co-defendant, they went into lots of detail about what they testified happened. Potential jurors not only have Facebook and other ways of hearing about it. They have lots of things in those articles that are held out to be facts. We think because of that, because the court knows it’s difficult to get people to find those affidavits, we think the venue should be changed.”
Hance cited the articles impact on a potential jury. “The remote articles should not have any impact on the jurors that we pick in October. Also, the articles did not lead anyone unduly to believe that there is no option other than to find the defendant guilty. Those have not been the focus of those articles. The focus of many of those articles are not on Goehler but Travis Barker and the co-defendants in this case.” Hance went on to explain the burden of proof is on the defendant in the case. He also stated that Mrs. Howell ’s relationship to the defendant. The state filed counter affidavits in the case containing statements from various individuals who work in various capacities of all corners of the county who affirm the information on the case is not widespread and could result in impartiality of a potential jury.
He recalled a motion for a change case in Cleburne County as precedence where a Treasurer was a relative of someone in a sexual assault case. The relationship of the county to the treasurer was considered, and when the jury was empaneled only three or four even knew who she was or had any contact with her.
It is incumbent on the defendant to submit the proof that Goehler would not have received a fair trial in the county. He said he has taken all the articles and affidavits into consideration in his decision citing each of the article dates, which were about all defendants.
“Based on the evidence before this court taking into consideration, both the affidavits submitted by the state and that the defendant has simply not proven or carried his burden that he would be unable to get a fair and impartial trial in this county.
He said he would hold the case open as he has in the past, in a murder trial. If the jury pool selected and each juror had made up their mind, he explained he would have no alternative but to move the case. He said that this has not been the case “based on the evidence submitted to this court that Mr. Goehler they cannot seat a fair and impartial jury in this case, So, motion denied.”
Other motions filed by Goehler’s attorney were that his client could appear at the trial unrestrained in street clothing. Weaver granted the motion with the stipulation that Goehler, who also has two other charges against him related to an escape attempt, were to try to act out in any way, he would be immediately restrained.
Coleman then asked about the possibility of transporting Goehler in his street clothes unrestrained from the jail to the trial. He said he always liked to walk client in before jury is seated. Because it is a murder case, the prosecution said that was a matter that would be tried separately and that the matter of the transportation to the trial would be up to the discretion of the sheriff’s department.
The two other motions filed by Goehler’s attorney involved obtaining information from the prosecution regarding potential witnesses including his co-conspirator Travis Barker, who has already been sentenced in the case.
The second motion regarded the questions asked during the voire dire process regarding the revelation of relationships to parties in the case, including the prosecutor. Weaver assured the defense the process will “weed those folks out.” Coleman asked the state to disclose any potential jurors in the pool about relationships and will allow Colemant to question ones he suspects could taint the pool.
He asked if there is any talk of a potential plea in the case. At the time there was not a plea on the table, but the defense said they were available in the event the state makes a plea available. Judge Weaver further instructed both sides witness lists and exhibits were to be submitted by Sept. 23 or they would not be called. Both sides agreed they would be in communication.
Monday, Oct. 3 was set as the cutoff date for any potential plea bargains. The trial will begin on Oct. 19 and is set