by Bill Knowles
WALSENBURG- A new trial date has been set for Boyd Gross after a hung jury. Gross has been charged with the attempted murder of his wife, Donna Gross, in a shooting that occurred on their property in early 2010.
In the December 2010 trial, several jurors voted Gross not guilty because of reasonable doubt, thus causing a hung jury. The following week the Signature newspaper ran a photo of Gross. The photo which was taken in the court room during a recess prompted the judge to file a complaint against David and Renee Rinehart, publishers of the newspaper, and their reporter Cathy Mullens.
Also included in the Signature′s report was a reference to data not brought out in testimony during the trial. A motion was filed by defense concerning conduct of attorneys and staff at the DA’s office in Huerfano County concerning a leak of information.
Deputy District Attorney Geoff Wasson has filed a response to the defense motion of misconduct. “No member of the Third Judicial Office leaked any information to the press.” Wasson went on to state that he didn’t disclose any information to the Signature’s reporter. “The article is nonsensical, the reporter didn’t [define the leaked data] in the article. And the report wasn’t very good either.”
The judge stated that the press coverage leading up to the Dec. 16 trial almost made it impossible to find an impartial jury in Huerfano County, which has only a small pool of possible jurors to select from.
Public Defender Patrick McCarville moved that the trial be held in a different venue. “I will reserve ruling on that motion until I can see if an impartial jury can be seated in Huerfano County. I will be giving each side four additional pre-emptives,” Judge Appel said. A preemptive allows attorneys to bar someone from serving on a jury for any number of reasons including exposure to pretrial information that may prejudice a person one way or another toward a defendant.
Judge Appel recused himself from the case involving the Signature and will bring in another judge to look at the merits of the complaint.
In other developments, new evidence has been brought to light and will be examined during the second trial which has been scheduled for March 7, 2011.
Gary M. Vezzani was elected Walsenburg’s mayor in Tuesday’s special mayoral election/recall vote. Preliminary results announced Tuesday night show that both Nick Vigil in Ward