MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The person of interest in the Jacob Wetterling case wants his child pornography trial moved out of the Twin Cities.
Danny Heinrich is also asking a federal judge to throw out DNA and other evidence.
Heinrich’s attorneys made the requests Wednesday in a series of motions filed ahead of a hearing later this month.
Authorities found a number of illegal images of kids inside his Annandale home last summer. Heinrich was then charged with 25 counts of child pornography.
Legal experts tell WCCO that Heinrich’s status as a person of interest in the Wetterling case is a likely factor for some of the requests.
Perhaps the most significant motion filed is that Heinrich wants the trial moved out of the Twin Cities. Legal experts WCCO talked with say it is possible Heinrich may eventually ask for his trial to be moved out of state.
When authorities first announced Heinrich’s child porn arrest, they also called him a person of interest in the 26-year-old unsolved disappearance of Wetterling. And court documents revealed Heinrich was one of the earliest suspects in that case.
Attorney Joe Tamburino says requests to move federal trials rarely succeed.
“These are all situations that the odds are against a change of venue,” Tamburino said.
Heinrich also wants a judge to bar a DNA swab taken from him during a July 2015 search. DNA evidence has linked Heinrich to the 1989 abduction and sexual assault of another Minnesota boy, Jared Scheierl. Heinrich cannot be prosecuted in that case because of the statute of limitations.
His defense team also wants authorities to give them any evidence they have on Heinrich in any case. This would include the Wetterling case, the Scheierl case and a series of unsolved sexual assaults on boys in the 1980s in Paynesville.
Henrich’s defense team asks that evidence from any other case not be introduced at his child porn trial. And they also want to get statements he made to investigators while they were serving a search warrant last July thrown out.
That is a big deal because according to court documents, he told the FBI that would they find child porn at his home, and that he was “a dirty old man.”
He is represented by two attorneys from the federal public defenders’ office, including Chief Public Defender Katherine Roe. Those attorneys did not return our phone calls.
Heinrich’s requests will be presented to the judge at a motions hearing later this month.