Judge Explains Decision to Move Spell Trial - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Judge Explains Decision to Move Spell Trial

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SIDNEY -

The judge handling the trial of Michael Spell, the man accused of kidnapping and murdering Sidney High School teacher Sherry Arnold, explains why he agreed to move the trial to another county.

According to the Sidney Herald, Judge Richard Simonton filed his order on the change of venue, sending the trial of Spell from the Richland County courthouse in Sidney to the Dawson courthouse in Glendive.

A pre-trial survey done by a political science professor hired by the defense showed a bias against Spell believing he was guilty.

Though the judge questioned some of the factors of that survey, he did believe some of the results were cause to move the trial.

The judge states "the court believes Dawson County is sufficiently distant from Richland County where neither the victim nor the defendant nor most witnesses will be known by the jury pool."

The judge also ruled Spell will be allowed to wear street clothes during the trial and have no physical restraints, saying the suspect does not represent a danger in the courtroom.

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