Tribune-Courier News Editor
BENTON — Marshall Circuit Judge Dennis Foust cleared the trial of a Paducah woman to be heard Wednesday.
Josh Hitch, defense attorney for Tiffany Pittman, filed for a change of venue, arguing an impartial jury could not be empaneled to hear his client’s case. Pittman, 19, faces charges of wanton murder and DUI related to the death of Steven J. “Jimmy” Harper, 46, on Aug. 15, 2011. Pittman was scheduled to stand trial this August, but new evidence required a continuance.
Hitch, Foust and com-monwealth’s attorney Mark Blankenship spent several minutes in Foust’s chambers before the judge made his ruling.
Foust said that he believed the jury screening process would be adequate to ensure an impartial jury would be selected. If an impartial jury could not be seated Wednesday, he will move the trial to Calloway County with a new trial date of Jan. 8.
“I hope we can finish the trial Friday, assuming a jury can be seated,” Foust said. “If not, we will go into Saturday.”
Hitch said he continued to object to a trial in Marshall County, but was ready to move forward.
Blankenship said he planned to scan social media to identify any bias in potential jurors, but was confident the screening process would be thorough and an impartial jury could be selected.
“We are bound by some case law and some precedents to try to have a trial in Marshall County,” Foust said. “We’ve been unable to seat a jury in a previous trial and have had to change the venue.
“The definition of insanity is to repeat an action over and over with negative results, but I don’t want to be called insane. We may have to move the trial.”
Blankenship said while it may be unusual for a wanton murder trial, attorneys for both sides may be forced to question potential jurors individually. He added this step is common in cases of deliberate murder, but is rarely needed in a wanton murder trial.