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Posted: 3:39 p.m. Monday, Jan. 14, 2013
NORTH CAROLINA —
One man's murder trial could be moved out of Cleveland County.
Donald Border's attorney argued on Monday that he would not get a fair trial because of the media attention surrounding the case.
There is a pool of 47 jurors. The first juror called said she heard nothing about the case. The second saw an Eyewitness News report. The judge said if they get through the entire pool and if they cannot find 12 jurors who haven't seen recent reports on the case, then he may consider the argument to move the trial. "I don't see how we can even begin the jury selection process," said defense attorney David Teddy. Donald Border's attorney said a series of articles in the local paper has poisoned the pool of potential jurors. "It is not possible for this defendant to receive a fair trial in this county on this charge," said Teddy. Teddy gave the judge Monday's editorial in the Shelby Star titled "Justice For All." It asks if Border should also be charged with the deaths of Lottie Ledford and Lillian Mullinax, two other women also found dead in their bedrooms in Shelby in 2003. Their phone lines were also cut like Margaret Tessneer's, but Border's DNA was only found in Tessneer's home. "So we are sort of in a no-win situation here," said Border. Teddy said the paper even got access to the investigative files and reported information attorneys are not allowed to mention during trial. "And I agree we shouldn't be allowed to talk about it, but the problem is they are already talking about it," said Teddy. The prosecutor urged the judge to keep the trial in Shelby. "We don't know if they read the Shelby Star. We don't know if they watch TV. We don't know," said prosecutor Sally Kirby-Turner. She said it doesn't matter if the entire pool of 47 jurors read the articles or followed coverage. "The standard for whether or not he can receive a fair trial is not whether or not he heard something," said Kirby-Tuner. Jury selection is going slowly. They are questioning each juror one at a time. It took 40 minutes to question the first two jurors. Questioning is expected to continue Tuesday.
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