Citing extensive media coverage in Chittenden County, Steven Bourgoin wants to be tried elsewhere.
“I don’t have a sense that that wouldn’t be the same case in other counties as well,” said Judge Kevin Griffin of Chittenden County Superior Court.
The request is the latest issue delaying the inevitable trial.
Bourgoin’s attorney Bob Katims says the coverage would impact jury selection and has submitted a variety of pre-trial publications from print and broadcast media outlets.
“Our focus was really on Chittenden County and that it wasn’t appropriate,” said Katims in court Thursday.
The judge said Katims request is falling short: “I’m really struggling with whether there are any other county in the state that haven’t been exposed to extensive coverage about this case.”
The defense now has until June 11 to make its final case.
“If the court on its own is raising the issue of ‘hey, is this statewide coverage that we’re not really going to get away from, so why move it’… I think we can put together a joint exhibit again,” said Katims.
It’s a relief for prosecutors who called the motion pre-mature.
“It really has to be a clear prejudice to the defendant in order to even consider venue,” said Sarah George, Chittenden County State’s Attorney.
Bourgoin is accused of killing five teenagers in a wrong-way crash and is charged with five counts of second-degree murder. Katims will use an insanity defense for his client.
George said, “We will be retaining our own expert that will do an evaluation on the defendant and coming to their own conclusion… Beyond that we are continuing to schedule depositions.”
George says November is the earliest the trial could start. If convicted, Bourgoin faces 20 years to life in prison for each count.