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Change of venue granted in Jenkins murder trial - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Change of venue granted in Jenkins murder trial

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ST. JOHNSBURY, Vt. -

A Judge in Caledonia County has ruled the trial against Allen and Patricia Prue, who are accused of the 2012 murder of a well-liked teacher from St. Johnsbury Academy, will take place in a different county. Many residents of Caledonia County, who knew the victim Melissa Jenkins, are outraged by this decision.

"It's ridiculous, I think they should be tried right here," says Dennis Chamberlain of Danville. The change in venue is due to concern the alleged murderers would not get a fair trial in Caledonia. "Did Melissa get a fair trial? No," says Chamberlain.

Many share Chamberlain's view. And some say no matter who is selected for the jury panel, the end result will be the same.

"Everybody knows that they killed Melissa. So I don't care where they have the trial in the state of Vermont, I don't think it's going to make any difference," says Tom McGann of West Danville.

Defendants requested several times for a venue change. In a statement, Judge Robert R. Bent says he decided for the change of venue because of all the publicity this case is getting in Caledonia County.

"The worst thing for the family would be if the defendants were convicted and then those convictions were overturned because there wasn't a change in venue," says Cheryl Hanna, a Vermont Law School Professor.

Hanna says she is not surprised by the decision. "It's even more important to have granted the change of venue, given that Caledonia County is small. It's rural Vermont, and it was going to be very hard to find jurors who weren't following that case very closely in the Caledonia record," she says.

The new location and date of the murder trial have not been set. And even those who live outside Caledonia County say a venue change may not matter in the end.

"Judging what went down, how it went down. Take it to California, it's not going to matter," says Mark Frost of Montpelier.

But, legal experts say ultimately receiving a fair trial, no matter the outcome, is the goal.

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