The trial of Brian David Mitchell ground to a sudden halt in the middle of opening statements.
The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals granted a stay to consider the defense’s request for a change of venue.
“I am of course very unhappy with this,” said U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball, who is presiding over the trial. “I have to do what the 10th circuit says. I don’t know what they’ll do when they consider it, but for today we’re in recess for this matter. I’m very sorry.”
The trial was halted after the defense team filed a petition asking the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver to order the case transferred out of Utah.
The petition argues that people who already have decided Mitchell is guilty were seated on the jury.
The defense said in the petition alleged that “the only possible way that the district court has been able to seat a jury in this venue … was by discounting the significance of a juror’s actual bias as to Mr. Mitchell’s guilt.”
The petition claimed that the only potential jurors removed from the jury pool were the ones who indicated they would shift the burden of proof to the defense.
Defense attorney Parker Douglas was three minutes into his opening statement when the trial was stopped.