Tribune-Courier General Manager
Barring any possible plea agreements, the trial of Cory Burkeen is likely to be moved to Calloway County to begin Sept. 30.
Burkeen faces a charge of wanton murder for his part in a Memorial Day 2012 traffic accident that killed Landon Lovett, daughter of Marshall County Schools Superintendent Trent Lovett.
Burkeen’s attorney, James Burkeen, told Judge Dennis Foust on Monday it was his intention to ask the court to move the location of the trial, but that court-required paperwork was missing two notarized signatures. He indicated the missing signatures to be a formality that had not be completed.
Burkeen indicated his first preference was to have the trial to Trigg County and to Calloway County as a second option.
Commonwealth Attorney Mark Blankenship told the court that while he agrees it is likely necessary to move the trial, he sees no reason to move to Trigg County.
“I live in Calloway County,” said Blankenship. “I have not heard a word about this in Calloway,” he said. “It spread like wildfire here because of the victims and because of the issues. That’s not the case in Calloway.”
Blankenship acknowledged he had gotten a great deal of feedback from the community which was overwhelmingly in favor of moving the trial.
Foust agreed he believed a change of venue to be necessary because of the potential difficulty in seating a jury. He noted the jury pool which was just employed for the Billy Greer murder trial is the same one which would be drawn from for this case if it were tried on August 26.
The pool of jurors had been polled on their familiarity with the Burkeen case and an overwhelming number indicated they had knowledge of it.
Foust said given the circumstances he believed Burkeen could get a fair trial in Calloway County.
“Everyone wants to get this resolved,” said Foust. “Do it one time. Do it right. So there aren’t any problems.”
Foust also asked Blankenship and Burkeen if they hadn’t done so already to consider mediation before a trial.
“Mediation can be helpful because it helps everybody understand what could happen,” said Foust.
Foust said he will issue an order on Monday setting the trial date, venue and mediation date.
“It’s either got to go or it’s got to be resolved,” said Foust.