- Associated Press - Thursday, May 1, 2014

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - The murder trial of a Fall River County man accused of killing his mother and hiding her body will be held in Rapid City this summer.

The Rapid City Journal reports (http://bit.ly/PTh2i0 ) that Circuit Judge Jeff Davis granted a defense request to move 28-year-old Matthew Tornquist’s trial.

Defense attorneys Matthew Stephens and Betsey Harris of Rapid City have said their client cannot receive a fair trial in Hot Springs because of community prejudice and media attention given to the case.

The judge, however, was more concerned about the size of the Fall River County courthouse and finding enough jurors to empanel a jury.

“The Fall River County facility is not equipped to handle the trial,” Davis said Wednesday.

Davis set July 8 as a tentative start date for the Pennington County jury trial.

Catherine Tornquist was 56 when she disappeared the first week of October 2011.

Her son has pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree and second-degree murder as well as grand theft in the disappearance of his mother. He remains in custody.

Dozens of people helped law enforcement officers search for the missing woman, but no traces were ever found.

Tornquist’s trial has been delayed twice before.

Special deputy prosecutor Matt Brown has said Tornquist can have a fair trial in Hot Springs.

Tornquist could face life in prison if convicted. Brown has said he will not pursue the death penalty in the case.

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Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com

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