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News Nugget – Change of Trial Venue Hearing In Highland

In a hearing at the Highland County courthouse Wednesday, Judge John E. Wetsel Jr. denied a motion by the defense for Highland teen Robert Marshall Cornelius to have his upcoming trial moved to a different venue. Cornelius is charged with several felonies, including 1st degree murder, use of a firearm, felony, 1st offense, and two charges of obtaining credit cards. The defense argued that difficulty in seating a jury in this locality, along with media coverage of the case and pre-trial activities, would cast doubt on the eventual verdict. Judge Wetsel ruled against that argument, noting that the court had anticipated difficulties, and taken the pro-active step of sending a questionnaire to potential jurors to winnow the pool ahead of the trial. Out of 115 potential jurors, 65 still remain in the pool after challenges by both prosecution and defense, and cause.

Barring further delays, the trial is scheduled to take place in Highland September 25th – 27th.

Story By

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Scott Smith

Scott is the News Director for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan, and also is a member of the boards of the Highland-Bath Farm Bureau , Highland Chamber of Commerce and Highland Sheep and Wool Association. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

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