Lawyer for man accused of murdering Dwane Simmons asks for trial to be moved from Shawnee County

Local News

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – The lawyer representing Francisco Mendez, who is accused of murdering Washburn football player Dwane Simmons, has filed a motion to change the venue of his trial.

KiAnn Caprice, Mendez’s attorney, argued in the motion that media attention surrounding the murder of Dwane Simmons has made it so that there is, “such a great prejudice against the defendant that he cannot possibly receive a fair trial in Shawnee County.”

Caprice points to several instances of Mendez being mentioned in local news stories, including 10 KSNT News articles about the case.

She writes that all of the media attention, “guarantees the case is still on the mind of potential jurors.”

Also mentioned in the motion are the numerous interviews given by Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay, Topeka Police Chief Bill Cochran, and Topeka Police Lieutenant Andrew Beightel.

The motion concludes that, “the court must transfer the trial to a different venue.”

A judge has not yet ruled on the motion, which was filed on January 6th. Mendez’s trial is currently scheduled to begin on February 18th, 2020 in Shawnee County.

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