The electronic motion filed by Updyke’s lawyer, Everett Wess, sought a different location for the trial because of widespread interest and media attention on the trial. Lee County Circuit Court Judge Jacob A. Walker stopped jury selection after four days on July 21 in the wake of Updyke’s confession to Plainsman reporter Andrew Yawn. Walker hoped the break would allow interest in the case to simmer.
The first renewal for a change of venue was filed June 21, though the judge has not yet set a hearing for a decision to be made. The original motion was filed in November 2011 but was not going to be decided until after jury selection, Walker decided.
In Wednesday’s renewal, Wess reiterated that Updyke would not be able to receive a fair trial in Lee County. He mentioned supporting case law and a failed attempt to strike a jury in June.
“It appears this case permeates multiple aspects of potential juror’s lives in Lee County Alabama and an impartial jury cannot be impaneled,” Wess said.
Wess offered Madison and Mobile counties as places to be considered for relocation.
Updyke has pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect and faces multiple counts of first-degree criminal mischief, desecration of a venerated object and unlawful damage of a crop facility related to the alleged attack.
The trial is currently set for October.