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Murder trial could be moved

By Staff | Mar 25, 2012

Brian Freeman

There’s a chance the murder trial for a 29-year-old Ceylon man may not be held in Faribault County.

Brian Daniel Freeman’s attorney – chief public defender Scott Cutcher of the Fifth Judicial District – says the affect pre-trial publicity has on potential jurors will determine if he seeks a change of venue.

“Nobody is going to come in with a blank, clean slate. Honestly, it would be troubling if they have not heard about the case,” he says. “The question is whether they are able to push that aside and can be fair and impartial.”

Cutcher says a request to move the trial most likely would come several weeks before it starts.If the trial is moved, it would have to be to another county in the Fifth Judicial District.

“Generally, it would not be in an adjacent county. The exception would be Blue Earth County because it is big,” Cutcher says.

The other 13 counties making up the Fifth Judicial District are Brown; Cottonwood; Jackson; Lincoln; Lyon; Martin; Murray; Nicollet; Nobles; Pipestone; Redwood; Rock; and Watonwan.

Freeman is charged with one count of second-degree murder in the death of 37-year-old Christopher Michael Fulmer.

He also faces three charges of second-degree attempted murder and three counts of third-degree attempted murder.

Freeman is being held in the county jail on $2 million bail since being arrested on Feb. 20.

On Monday, he appeared in District Court for an omnibus hearing that lasted less than 10 minutes.

“He has his days, ups and downs. He’s holding together and is doing OK in a relative sense,” says Cutcher.

“He has no history of assault or been in the criminal system,” he adds.

At the hearing, Judge Douglas Richards ruled probable cause exists for the charges filed against Freeman.

Cutcher requested a contested omnibus hearing be scheduled sometime in May.

“We’ll challenge statements that were given by my client and if evidence was legally seized,” he says.

That would include Freeman’s 1994 pickup truck, clothing items from the vehicle and his house in Ceylon.

County Attorney Troy Timmerman says he has seen nearly 400 pages of evidence and expects more. But, he doesn’t know how much more.

He says the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension continues to process evidence.

Richards set the next hearing for May 14.

Cutcher asked that two hours be set aside to challenge constitutional issues, such as if his client’s rights were violated.

“They (authorities) have the right to ask questions, but did they advise him of his rights and what statement were made without an attorney present,” he says.