Magistrate won't move trial because of bloggers, media coverage - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Magistrate won't move trial because of bloggers, media coverage

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A U.S. district magistrate disagreed with a defense attorney who said his client, accused in a carjacking and murder case, needed a change of venue for his trial because of heavy attention by the news media and Internet bloggers.

U.S. Magistrate Bruce Guyton denied the request by an attorney for Eric Dewayne Boyd to move Boyd's trial outside of East Tennessee.

"The court cannot find that the level of negative pretrial publicity has affected the entire potential jury pool for the Knoxville division from Knox and surrounding counties," Guyton wrote.

Boyd, 34, is charged as an accessory after the fact in the fatal carjacking of Channon Christian, a 21-year-old University of Tennessee student, and her boyfriend Christopher Newsom, 23, in January. He could get 15 years in prison if convicted.

Four others, including alleged ringleader Lamaricus Davidson, 25, are charged in state court with the crimes. Boyd gave police statements in which he provided details of the crimes as allegedly told to him by Davidson while Boyd sheltered him after the crimes occurred.

Defense attorney Philip Lomonaco called the case "one of the most heavily publicized and misreported cases in recent local East Tennessee history."

He worried that television reports falsely included his client among the alleged killers, and that Internet bloggers trying to bring national attention to the case inflamed racial tensions - the victims were white, the suspects are black.

Lomonaco was particularly concerned about erroneous reports on the Internet because "it may be there forever (and) it's everywhere. It's not a newspaper you read and throw away."

Assistant U.S. Attorney David Jennings has said the defense failed to show that an impartial jury could not be found among the 1 million potential jurors in East Tennessee.

Boyd's trial is scheduled in February.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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