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The Versailles Republican

July 2, 2015 • Headlines

The annual Courthouse Day event was held Saturday, June 27, in Versailles and featured the American Legion Car Show.

The unseasonably cool temperatures Saturday did not keep the crowds from attending the Courthouse Day on the square in Versailles. The Versailles Lions Club members served their popular chicken barbeque to hundreds of people, many who had visited the American Legion’s car show and also the Versailles Farmers Market in the morning. LINDA CHANDLER PHOTO
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July 28 date set
Change of venue denied again

The murder trial for Nancy Hershman of Milan will remain in Ripley County. A change of venue and a test jury were requested by Allison Moore, the woman arrested for the murder of Hershman, and was denied by Ripley Superior Court Judge Jeff Sharp. This was after hearing from four media witnesses and one family member. This was the second time a change of venue request had been filed, the first being in December 2013 which was denied under Judge Carl Taul’s rule. Moore, 23, is charged with the murder of Hershman on Dec. 30, 2012, after Hershman came upon Moore and two teens in her home attempting to steal items, and she was fatally shot. The two co-defendants, Sean Nichols and Daniel Hodges, have since been sentenced for lesser charges and are serving time.
Allison Moore escorted from Ripley County Courthouse


Pictured left, Allison Moore is escorted from the Ripley County Courthouse by Jailer Bob Curl, at right, and jailer transport officer Winston Halcomb, after the hearing June 26.

The hearing was held on June 26 at Superior Court and lasted three hours. Moore’s appointed attorney, Mark Jones subpoened Linda Chandler, publisher of The Versailles Republican and Osgood Journal; Ron Green, general manager of WRBI radio in Batesville; Diane Raver, assistant editor at The Herald Tribune of Batesville; and Mike Perleberg, news director at WSCH in Lawrenceburg. Raver had a company attorney accompany her. Each were put on the witness stand and asked about circulation or listening area, coverage and placement of articles, website numbers and social media data. They all testified that the articles, either about the defendant or co-defendants, were based on fact, and not sensationalized, and merited front page placement due to interest. The media representatives also stated they had not received comments from Facebook or email; however, Perleberg stated the station had 22 comments posted on Facebook about the change of venue, and were negative toward the defendant. Dave Kelly, the victim’s brother, was also called to the stand. He had paid for a full page ad with Ripley Publishing to express his opinion about the case and his disagreement with the court. He told the court he had not talked to people about the case, and has not heard anything good or bad about it.

In the court order, Judge Sharp notes that the defendant must show there has been pretrial publicity that has created a bias or prejudice in the community that would prevent the defendant from having a fair trial by an impartial jury. He agreed there has been pretrial publicity in the last 30 months; however , to what extent the news articles, radio broadcasts and social media have reached the Ripley County citizens and the jury pool is unclear.

“The burden of the defendant is not to show that there has been pretrial publicity. But, rather, the defendant must show that the publicity has created a bias or prejudice and that jurors have developed a preconceived notion of guilt and are unable to impartially listen to the evidence and to decide the case based on only what they heard in court.”

The only evidence presented to the court as to bias were the 22 comments on the Facebook page of WCSH, from an article on the change of venue, and viewed by about 1,900 people. How many of those were from Ripley County was not determined. Sharp commented that Moore has not shown a bias exists from receiving a fair trial in Ripley County, and “any decision to the contrary, at this point, would be premature.”

The order was filed June 30. The jury trial is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. July 28. The trial is set for two weeks.

Pick up this week's edition of The Versailles Republican for the stories below and more local news. Subscribe by clicking the subscribe link or call 812-689-6364.

• ‘Slowpoke law’ in effect: Face a fine if driving too slow on highway (front page)
• RCCF annual meeting: Over $400,000 given via county foundation (front page)
• Scout master heads up Milan parade (front page)
• HOPEfest draws a crowd for fellowship (page 2)
• Rising Sun Regional Foundation awards $46,000 in scholarships (section B, front page)
• On the Record from the Ripley County Courthouse (section B, page 2)
• Court rules on several drug-related felony cases (section B, page 2)
• Fireworks: Staying within the law (section B, page 3)
• Versailles Town Court (section B, page 5)
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