Another Change Of Venue In Murder Case Press Not Required To Testify At Hearing Doctor’s Testimony Limited At Trial
By Echo Menges for The Edina Sentinel
On Thursday, February 13, 2014, Mike Scott, who is the publisher of this newspaper and our sister newspaper The Media based in Kahoka and the news information website, which is shared by the two newspapers, nemonews.net, was in court for a motions hearing at the Scotland County Courthouse in Memphis before Judge Gary L. Dial for Clark County Circuit Court case No. CK-CR00286 the State of Missouri vs. Glenn Head.
Head, 60, of rural Novelty, a former St. Louis Metro Police officer, stands accused of murdering his 67-year-old neighbor William “Bill” Bacon during a property dispute on December 11, 2012.
Scott was ordered to submit subscription information for both newspapers including the number of Sentinel and Media subscribers there are in Clark County and counties elsewhere in Missouri and website traffic information including the number of times a public document pertaining to the case entitled “Defendant’s Motions In Limine” had been downloaded. Scott and this reporter were also required to testify during the hearing, according to subpoenas we received from Head’s defense attorney Charley James of St. Peters, MO.
All of this was brought on by our, The Edina Sentinel’s, decision to publish a story about the public document “Defendant’s Motions In Limine” in the October 30, 2013, issue of the Sentinel and to provide the actual document along with the State’s response to it for public inspection, available to download, on our website, nemonews.net.
Inside the document was a list of things the defense wanted kept out of the Jury Trial of Glenn Head including provocative insights about another bullet wound in the victim’s leg, a tape recorder found at the scene belonging to Bacon, which had been seen in Head’s possession, an alleged tape that was never found and Bacon’s last words before dying, “Get the tape out of my pocket” to former Sheriff Mike Kite.
A few days after the story was published and the documents were made available online Judge Dial ordered the case sealed and requested that we remove the documents from the website, which Scott agreed to do on a temporary basis.
Since that time two more motions for another change of venue in the case have been presented by the defense. The venue had already been changed from Knox County to Clark County in May of last year.
Head’s defense attorney motioned for another change of venue immediately following our publication of the “Defendant’s Motions In Limine” documents to no avail. Judge Dial ruled to continue the trial, which was set to begin on November 11, 2013, to a later date, April 7, 2014, and seal the case to the public in the “alternative” to another change of venue citing our newspaper and our publication of the public documents as the cause of the decision in a court order issued by the Judge in November.
Since that ruling as the Jury Trial of Head creeps closer Head’s defense attorney has again motioned for another change of venue and to have the trial moved from Clark County.
Last Thursday, after a lengthy meeting between the prosecution and defense in the Judge’s chambers, Judge Dial granted the defense’s motion for another change of venue.
The information requested from us was not collected by the court, the attorney or their representatives. Scott and I were not called to testify at all during the hearing.
If we were we would have presented the court with information stating that there has never been a mention of the Head Murder Trial in The Meida, which serves Clark County, and the actual amount of Sentinel subscribers there are in Clark County equals ten. Also, that the documents in question were downloaded from our website by 174 unique users though who or where those users are is not available and remains unknown.
Judge Dial cited Missouri Revised Statute (RsMO) Section 545.490, which pertains to changes of venue when affidavits, or statements, from at least five credible disinterested citizens, residing in different neighborhoods, are presented to the court in counties with populations under 75,000. According to Judge Dial, the defense was able to produce affidavits from individuals residing at different parts of Clark County stating that they had seen information about the case on nemonews.net, giving him no choice but to grant the motion for another change of venue.
Judge Dial also expressed that he wanted to keep the original Jury Trial date of April 7 through 11, 2014, and would be looking for available courtrooms. The availability of a courtroom would determine the venue for the case. Some of the locations mentioned in open court included Howard, Livingston and Randolph Counties. Judge Dial will continue to preside over the case.
Also during the hearing, the defense presented another motion asking the court to limit the testimony of a doctor expected to testify in the case as to whether the bullet wound to the victim’s leg entered and exited Bacon’s thigh from the front or from the back or on the “angle” of the bullet wound citing that the doctor was not an “expert” and should only be allowed to give “limited” testimony at trial. That motion was also granted by Judge Dial.
Just before the hearing was concluded Scott requested the court unseal the case to the public citing that any coverage of the case in the Sentinel would no longer be a conflict as it is being moved even further from Knox County. Judge Dial agreed to consider reopening the case at that time, but has yet to make a decision.
As of press time the new venue for the case had yet to be announced. We will release that information when it becomes available.
Past Coverage – Publisher/Reporter Subpoenaed