Request to move trial for man accused of murdering Washburn football player denied

Local News

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – A judge has denied the motion to change venues in the case involving the shooting of two Washburn University football players last year.

Francisco Mendez is accused of shooting and killing defensive back Dwane Simmons and injuring his teammate, Corey Ballentine, at an off-campus party in April.

KiAnn Caprice, Mendez’s attorney, filed the motion to change venues last week. She argued that media attention surrounding the murder has made it so 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 also included the numerous interviews given by Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay, Topeka Police Chief Bill Cochran and Topeka Police Lieutenant Andrew Beightel in the motion.

Mendez’s trial is currently still scheduled to begin on February 18th, 2020 in Shawnee County.

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