Michelle Despain. Photo courtesy kait8.com/Jonesboro PD.
CRAIGHEAD COUNTY, Ark. (KTHV) - A woman set to stand trial for the murder of her husband requested a change of venue, but the motion has been denied.
According to a Craighead County court document, Michelle Despain requested the venue change in fear of not receiving a fair trial. It reads, "The motion is supported by the testimony of witnesses, affidavits, and various exhibits, including a rather voluminous one from an online chat room called 'Topix.'"
Circuit Judge Victor L. Hill said that potential jurors who may have been swayed by something on "Topix" can be ferreted out, and if necessary, the court will take a more active role in jury selection.
Additionally, Judge Hill said in the document that Despain also had concern because of the media's coverage of the investigation, but he responded to that by saying, "Although there has been considerable interest from the news media about this case, the court does not detect in the news accounts any media bias against the defendant. They have merely reported what there is to report from those who will speak with them about the matter."
Despain will be on trial for the death of her husband Marc Despain. Prosecutors maintain that she hired a man to kill him in 2011. Three others pleaded guilty in this case, and have been sentenced to prison.
Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington said in reference to Despain's motion being denied, "The State's position from the beginning has been that Michelle Despain could get a fair trial in Craighead County and I am happy that Judge Hill agreed with us."
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