INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - The trial for IMPD Officer David Bisard will be held outside of Central Indiana.
Attorneys on either side of the case met in Judge Grant Hawkins' chambers on Thursday afternoon to discuss alternate venues for the Bisard trial.
After emerging from the conference, Marion County Deputy Prosecutor Denise Robinson confirmed the move.
"It's definitely going to move," she told 24-Hour News 8. "We've all known for some time that that's necessary. With the publicity surrounding the case, the defendant is entitled to a fair trial and the state is entitled to a fair trial. We need to get this moved to a jurisdiction where we can have that kind of trial."
During the pre-trial hearing that preceded the closed-door meeting, Hawkins cited "intense media scrutiny" of the case as the biggest factor in his decision.
"When I got off the elevator, five cameras were pointed at me," Hawkins said Thursday. "Clearly media interest hasn't waned in 28 months."
FULL COVERAGE | David Bisard
Given the interest, Hawkins said it's likely there couldn't be a fair trial in Marion County.
"And, you run the risk that a trial could start and then have to be moved," Robinson said. "That would cost Marion County tens of thousands of dollars to get to that point. At this point, it's simply simpler to say — change the venue in the case."
Hawkins had previously asked Robinson and Bisard's Defense Attorney John Kautzman to submit a list of agreeable counties and judges. That list revealed ten judges and six counties, Hawkins said.
Of those, three judges and three counties were selected, though Robinson said the two sides were instructed not to reveal them.
"We know other media will be interested," she said. "Perception [for jurors] is a huge part of it."
It's unclear at this point what judge will preside over the case. Hawkins could continue on the case in another county, but an alternate judge is also a possibility, Robinson said.
Asked about the cost of moving the trial, Robinson said she was uncertain, but thought it would eclipse the total costs of other recent venue changes. Even so, she said the two sides have little choice.
"From a legal standpoint, not just a financial standpoint, I can't afford to start a trial, get partway through it, and then end up with a mistrial," Robinson said.
Kautzman wouldn't comment on the proposed venue change following the meeting.
But, those impacted by the case had mixed feelings on the move.
"I believe Marion County has enough residents in it to select from," said Aaron Wells, whose son Eric was killed when he was hit by Bisard's patrol car. "But, if they feel this is a fairer situation, then bring on the county, wherever it's at. Can they not find 12 [viable] people? I find that hard to believe. But, if that's the way it is, that's the way it is."
Still, Wells said the length of the case is weighing on him and on the other victims in the case.
"It's there with you every day," Wells said, pausing to control his emotions. "The time doesn't help. You just want time so you can heal. And I don't see that beginning anytime soon. Sitting across from a man who killed your son and who won't even admit to that — it takes its toll every single time."
Even so, Wells said he wants the trial to be done "the right way."
"I want David Bisard to have a fair trial. We're left in this situation where we have to ride it out. And, we'll be here until the very end," he said.
Hawkins also discussed other outstanding elements of the case Thursday, including a briefing Kautzman filed with the Indiana Supreme Court, asking it to overturn an appeals court ruling allowing a second vial of Bisard's blood as admissible evidence. That vial has been tested, but the results remain confidential, Robinson said.
A trial date and venue selection should be set at the next hearing, set for Feb. 14. Robinson said she expected the trial to take place in 2013, possibly by late summer.
Bisard is facing reckless homicide and DUI charges after his patrol car hit motorcyclists in Aug. 2010. Prosecutors contend he was drunk at the time. The crash killed Eric Wells, 30, and severely injured Kurt Weekly and Mary Mills.
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