- Associated Press - Saturday, October 31, 2015

TOLEDO, Iowa (AP) - A judge has told attorneys she is considering moving the new murder trial of a man accused of killing in wife in Tama in 2013 out of the Tama County Courthouse in Toledo, Iowa.

Judge Mary Chicchelly told attorneys Friday she is inclined to grant Dustin Jefferson’s change of venue request, the Waterloo Cedar-Falls Courier reported (https://bit.ly/1Wnhk1H ).

Earlier this month, Jefferson’s first murder trial ended in a hung jury.

Prosecutors have maintained that Jefferson actively helped or encouraged his mother, Ginger Jefferson, to kill his wife, 32-year-old Kerry O’Clair Jefferson, in September 2013.

Ginger Jefferson was convicted last year of first-degree murder in her daughter-in-law’s stabbing death.

Attempts to prosecute her son have been fraught with setbacks from the beginning.

The first attempt got as far as the jury selection process in December 2014. But he defense attorney, Thomas Gaul, successfully objected to the lack of Native Americans included in the jury pool. Dustin Jefferson is a member of the Meskawki Nation.

In his latest objection to trying the case in Tama County, Gaul argued Friday that news accounts of other criminal cases against Jefferson, including accusations that he sexually abused a girl, could taint the jury pool.

Gaul recommended Jasper, Poweshiek or Iowa counties for the new trial.

The judge said she would investigate which courthouses could provide adequate security for “a trial of this magnitude.”


Information from: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, https://www.wcfcourier.com

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