Defense Argues for Venue Change in Suzette Nellis Murder Case
FRANKLIN, Pa. (EYT) — Assistant Public Defender Eric Padin argued in court on Monday that his client should either be granted a change of venue or that a jury be brought in from another county when David Allen Bosley is eventually brought for trial in the March 22nd murder of Suzette Nellis.
(Photo above: Venango County Sheriff’s Deputies escort David Allen Bosley back to the Venango County Prison following a change of venue hearing inside the Courthouse.)
In the motion filed by Padin on October 3, 2023, he argued that a fair and impartial jury cannot be selected from a pool of residents of Venango County due to publicity of the case, stating “the publicity surrounding this case has been biased toward the conviction of the defendant in this matter.”
The hearing on the motion was held in Courtroom #2 of the Venango County Courthouse on Monday, November 20, 2023, with Senior Judge William R. Cunningham presiding.
Prior to Judge Cunningham’s arrival, David Bosley appeared agitated as he spoke to his counsel in a high-pitched voice at a level that was audible by the entire courtroom. “I’m pissed off,” he said. “They’re going to hear about that.”
It’s unclear who “they” are and what “that” is.
Bosley was dressed in Venango County Prison garb, with orange crocks and an orange jacket draped over his shoulders. His hands were cuffed. His hair and beard were unkempt. He blinked his eyes quickly and often.
During his argument, Padin presented Judge Cunningham with a pile of 21 news articles, printed on letter paper, covering the case. The majority of the articles were from exploreVenango.com and The Derrick, with others from Fox News, People, and the Miami Herald citing exploreVenango.com in their coverage.
“If anyone wants to look up an article about crime, the first place they go is exploreVenango,” said Padin to Judge Cunningham.
Judge Cunningham asked Padin if exploreVenango and The Derrick are unrelated entities.
“As far as I know,” replied Padin.
It is noted that exploreVenango.com is not affiliated with The Derrick.
Both authors of the articles presented to Judge Cunningham were present in the gallery during the hearing.
As he went through the pile of articles, Padin pointed out evidence in the case that has been made public that could be prejudicial to a potential jury, including shoe prints found at the scene, Bosley’s DNA that was recovered from the victim, prior convictions, and the fact that Bosley was included on Megan’s Law for his conviction on attempted rape.
David Allen Bosley’s parolee photo on the Megan’s Law website.
Padin told Judge Cunningham that there were three things that he must show in order for a change of venue to be proper. First, the information published about his client is inflammatory. Second, it is derived from official documents. Third, the publicity is saturated.
All three items, he argued, are present in this case.
He argued further that because the news is typically consumed online in the modern era, publicity doesn’t go away over time the way it did when print was the most common delivery mechanism for news.
“I must point out the persistent nature of online news,” said Padin. “Most people get their news online.”
District Attorney Shawn White, arguing for the prosecution, presented Judge Cunningham with a print-out of a press release published by his office on April 6. He said nothing beyond the press release was provided to the media or public by his office.
White went on to single out exploreVenango.com, telling the judge that he doesn’t read the website and doesn’t know who does.
White further argued that the motion is premature, stating that two new trial judges are slated to be sworn in in 35 days.
He said that he wants to attempt to seat an impartial jury at the proper time. If they cannot, he then might agree with the defense and seek a new venue.
Judge Cunningham said he would take the arguments under advisement and adjourned the hearing.
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