Tribune-Courier General Manager
Cory Burkeen appeared in Marshall County Circuit Court Monday, six weeks before he will face a jury on a charge of wanton murder as a result of a Memorial Day 2012 traffic collision.
Landon Lovett, 19, of Benton died from injuries she sustained in that wreck.
Burkeen’s trial is slated for Aug. 26. On Monday, public defender James Burkeen said he sees no reason why the trial shouldn’t remain on schedule for that date.
James Burkeen is not related to Cory Burkeen.
James Burkeen asked Judge Dennis Foust to schedule a pretrial hearing on July 29 to consider outstanding motions in the case.
“I realize we are six weeks out from the date of the trail and our time is starting to get condensed,” said James Burkeen.
Among those motions are an anticipated request for a change of venue in the case.
Burkeen has said in the past he believes it will be difficult for his client to get a fair trial in Marshall County given the high profile nature of the case.
Commonwealth Attorney Mark Blankenship said his office is seeking feedback from the community on the matter of change of venue. He said he has sent out a number of emails from his office asking the question, “Do you personally believe Cory Burkeen cannot get a fair trial in Marshall County?”
Blankenship is asking anyone with an opinion on the matter to contact his office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“It may be that in this case we have to go elsewhere,” Blankenship said. “The young woman who died was the daughter of the superintendent of schools and there has been a great deal of press coverage. I need to hear from the community in this matter.”
Blankenship said once the change of venue is requested he would expect Foust to first try to seat a jury in Marshall County before moving to Calloway County or elsewhere.
“I can’t speak for the judge, but that’s the way change of venue requests have been handled in the past,” he said.
Foust had indicated in an earlier pretrial conference for Burkeen he was going to schedule a date in a Calloway County courtroom if the change was necessary.
Burkeen faces six charges, including wanton murder. Lovett died from complications of her injuries in November.
Another passenger in the vehicle, Shane McKenty, also received serious injuries.