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Prosecutors want murder trial in victim's hometown

By Associated Press
Published On: Aug 29 2013 10:06:30 AM MDT
BILLINGS, Mont. -

Montana prosecutors have asked a judge to keep the trial in the murder of a high school teacher in her hometown of Sidney.
    
Defense attorneys want Michael Keith Spell's Jan. 6 trial moved more than 400 miles to Bozeman. They say a Sidney jury would be biased by the intense news coverage given to the 2012 murder of math teacher Sherry Arnold.
    
In court documents released Thursday, Deputy County Attorney T.R. Halvorson argues that any biased jurors could be "rooted out" during the jury selection process.
    
Halvorson says if a change is needed, the case could be moved to Dawson or Custer counties, or outside jurors could be brought into Richland County.
    
Spell could face the death penalty if convicted. His co-defendant, Lester Van Waters Jr., has pleaded guilty.