MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Capital murder suspect John DeBlase was in court Tuesday, July 30 for a change of venue hearing.
Deblase and his common law wife Heather Keaton are accused of torturing, poisoning and then dumpin g the bodies of his two small children, 4-year-old Natalie and 3-year-old Jonathan Chase in two different wooded areas in 2010.
The bodies of the children were discovered in December 2010. Authorities believe they had been dead for months.
Tuesday, the defense called Jerry Ingram to the stand who testified based on his research, 50 percent of eligible jurors have knowledge of the case and have already formulated the opinion DeBlase is guilty. Based on that, the defense said it's not fair to have the trial in Mobile County.
The prosecution agreed with that figure but had a much different view.
"Fifty percent roughly of the potential jury pool does not have a fixed opinion about guilt in this case and can listen to the evidence," said Mobile County District Attorney Ashley Rich.
Rich argued some of the potential jurors who were polled could have confused the DeBlase case with the Lam Luong case.
That's the case of a father who was convicted of throwing his children off the Dauphin Island Bridge.
The defense did not comment on the hearing but the prosecution said it believes by doubling the jury pool, DeBlase could have a fair trial in Mobile County.
Something the state estimates would save tax payers a hundred thousand dollars.
"We've always maintained we can get a jury in Mobile County. It may take more time, it make take a larger jury pool to draw from but we're willing to do that," said Rich.
The defense wants media representatives testify to about the number of news articles and reports surrounding the case.
The defense has until August 9th to submit the information to Judge Stout.
If testimony is necessary, another hearing is scheduled for august 15.
Rich said the trial is scheduled to begin in Mobile County in October.
Jennifer Fram pleaded guilty to reckless murder in Mobile Thursday, December 12. Fram is charged in a fatal traffic accident that killed Nicholas Markow in April 2012.
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