Accused murderer Christopher Vick, 38, of Lincoln has filed motions to change the venue for his April trial and to limit evidence that can be used against him.
A South Central District Court judge took testimony regarding the motions in the case of Vick, accused of murdering his mother and terrorizing his brother in May 2013.
Vick, his attorney Kerry Rosenquist and Burleigh County Assistant State's Attorney Julie Lawyer appeared before Judge Bruce Romanick Thursday to argue the motions.
Rosenquist told Romanick that evidence relating to Vick's prior conviction for the attempted murder of Erin Mees, around the same time he is alleged to have murdered his mother, Alice Vick, would unfairly prejudice a jury against Vick.
Lawyer said that the attempt on Erin Mees' life was an active part of the state's terrorizing charge, which alleges that Christopher Vick placed his brother, Shawn Vick, in fear of not only his own life, but that of Mees as well.
Rosenquist said the state could have filed the terrorizing charge at the same time as the attempted murder charge but chose to file it later.
Venue change 'premature'
In addition, Rosenquist asked Romanick to relocate the trial venue to Fargo or Grand Forks.
"I'm very cognizant of the pre-trial publicity that has occurred," Rosenquist said, relating to Vick's current case and his past one.
Rosenquist said he could not see how his client could find a dozen jurors in the Bismarck and Mandan area who had not already made up their minds about the case.
Lawyer said that it was premature to consider a venue change and that at least the attempt to seat a jury should be made.
"I've got to try and sit a jury," Romanick said, citing North Dakota Supreme Court precedent.
Both sides agreed, though, that a pre-trial jury questionnaire asking jurors about their familiarity with the case could be a good idea. Romanick accepted the sample questionnaire provided and said he would consider it.
In the event that the jury selection could not turn up a local impartial jury, Romanick said a venue change could be appropriate.
Romanick said he would consider the arguments and did not issue a decision Thursday.