MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Attorneys for the St. Anthony police officer who shot and killed Philando Castile last summer want his trial moved to another county.
He currently faces manslaughter charges, as well as two weapons charges, in the July 2016 shooting death of Castile. The shooting gained national attention after Castile’s girlfriend live-streamed the aftermath on Facebook.
Judge Leary said he was going to try to make a decision on the defense team’s request by the end of the week. It was one of several motions brought by the defense.
The defense argued that Yanez would not have a fair trial if it were held in St. Paul. They said jurors would be intimidated by the publicity surrounding the case, and also argued they could be biased given comments made by Gov. Mark Dayton and County Prosecutor John Choi in the months after the shooting.
“County attorney giving a press release, or he opines that patrolman Yanez was guilty, and that’s fully untethical and wrong,” Yanez’s attorney Earl Gray said.
Gray suggested moving the trial to cities like Brainerd, St. Cloud or Duluth.
They also asked the court to dismiss testimony by the state’s expert on use of deadly force, saying his opinion didn’t apply to the case.
There is one motion the judge ruled on. He denied the defense’s request to sever the case of some of the counts in the criminal complaint. For all the other motions including moving the trial he expects to have an answer by the end of the week.
The last time Yanez was in court, he entered a not guilty plea. A possible motion to dismiss which was already denied in the past.
The trial is scheduled for May 30.