Standingrock Attorneys Seeking Change of Venue for Murder Trial
Attorneys for accused double murderer Augustus Standingrock asked and were denied a delayed trial date that is now scheduled for January 4 in Missoula District Court before Judge James Wheelis.
Attorney Nick Brooke said however there were a number of reasons why they requested a change of venue for their client.
“Some of the reasons were that we feel there is still outstanding evidence,” said Brooke. “In addition, we have commissioned a poll of Missoula County to determine whether or not there is substantial bias and prejudice against our client in the jury pool.”
Brooke said the firm conducting the poll is similar to any that make calls during a political campaign.
“Just like the calls you probably got during the election, there are people you can hire and firms that can construct questionnaires, so you hire an independent firm,” he said. “We’ve also been working with a Doctor of Political Science to work out which questions to ask, and he’s eventually going to tell us his interpretation of the results from that polling firm. He is Dr. Richard Setlzer, Professor of Political Science at Howard University.”
Brooke said the reason they commissioned the poll was because they determined that their client could not receive a fair trial in Missoula County due to the publicity that has followed the case.
Brooke said even though Standingrock and codefendant Tiffanie Rae Pierce are charged with the same crime, each has their own representation and even a separate trial.
“You want to have separate attorneys for codefendants even if they were having trials at the same time,” he said. “In this case, there are separate trials and they both have different attorneys of record. The message from Judge Wheelis was clear that we need to be ready to go to trial on January 4, but we fully intend to make a filing on our polling if that’s what the results demand, and maybe that will change his mind on things, however we fully intent to head to trial on January 4.”
Standingrock is in the Missoula County Jail on $2 million bond on two counts of deliberate homicide and tampering with physical evidence after allegedly killing 15 year-old Marilyn Pickett and 24 year-old Jackson Wiles. According to police reports, the crime scene included three plastic tubs that contained the victims’ body parts.