The defense team for the man seen on body camera shooting and killing a Logan County deputy in 2017 requested a judge for a change of venue for the upcoming August trial.
Nathan LeForce, who faces the death penalty, was back in the Logan County Courthouse for a pre-trial hearing on Monday morning.
With 10 deputies surrounding Leforce, seen wearing an orange, faded Payne County Jail jumpsuit, District Judge Phillip Corley heard five motions from the defense, including a motion to move the trial away from Logan County.
One of the three defense attorneys argued the pre-trial publicity and the effect on the community were concerns of receiving a fair and impartial trial in the county.
“It’s not calling the people of Logan County unfair. That’s not what I am alleging. This is opinion evidence on whether a person can get a fair trial,” the attorney said.
“It’s human nature that we are influenced.”
District Attorney Laura Austin-Thomas argued police homicides happen every month “unfortunately” across the nation and everyone hears about them.
“We cannot control that we all hear whatever the news thinks news is news of the day or is going to grab someone’s attention.”
She continued, “If you notice that the press is no longer in our court rooms, except for the Guthrie News Page. There are no cameras. There has not been for some time, so we are not the interest story of the hour.”
Thomas finished by saying it comes down to if the court can seat a jury.
Judge Corley agreed the case is high-profile but said in some of the most high-profile cases there are jurors that do not follow media outlets or keep up with the issues in the community.
The judge says he expects more publicity to come with the August 6 trial date but will wait to see if a jury can be established and that they will be fair and impartial. The judge stated he will then consider a change of venue, if needed, following jury selection.
Deputy David Wade was helping with an eviction notice at a home near Mulhall on April 18, 2017 when he was shot multiple times and later died at OU Medical Center. Related article: LeForce bound over for trial in killing of Deputy David Wade