ST. JOHNSBURY (AP) -- The judge overseeing the murder and kidnapping cases of a Waterford couple accused of killing a St. Johnsbury teacher said Monday he’s considering a change of venue for their trials.
Allen and Patricia Prue have pleaded not guilty in connection with the March 2012 death of 33-year-old Melissa Jenkins. They’re accused of luring Jenkins from her Danville home, strangling her and dumping her body in the Connecticut River.
The Prues argue it will be impossible to seat an impartial jury locally, due to intense media coverage.
Their prior requests to move their case to another county have been denied. But The Caledonian Record reported that Caledonia Superior Court Judge Robert Bent mentioned the change-of-venue issue in separate status conferences in both cases Monday and said he was weighing a decision.
"That’s on my radar to try and figure out what to do there," Bent said during the conference for Allen Prue, 31.
Later Monday, during the conference for 34-year-old Patricia Prue, he said, "The court will be thinking about the venue question. It’s sort of been perking around."
Caledonia County State’s Attorney Lisa Warren said she’ll oppose moving the trials. But she added there’s a good possibility it could happen, anyway.
The Prues are facing first-degree murder charges for allegedly kidnapping and killing Jenkins, a former St. Johnsbury Academy science teacher.
Last week, Warren filed additional charges of murder conspiracy and kidnapping against the Prues. She also filed multiple counts of possession of child pornography against Patricia Prue. The Prues have not been arraigned on the new charges.
Information from: The Caledonian-Record, http://www.caledonianrecord.com