A Pretrial Conference was held in 4th Judicial District Court Tuesday for Dennis Poitra Jr, one of three co-defendants charged with 1st Degree Murder in the alleged shooting death of Sheridan Businessman Robert Ernst on August 26th, 2009. Sheridan Media's Ron Richter was there and has more.
Poitra's defense attorneys requested that a 2nd mental evaluation be conducted on the defendant by an independent examiner provided by the defense. 4th Judicial District Court Judge John Fenn approved the request, but stipulated that the findings from the report be submitted to the Court and the State no later than August 9th.
If Prosecuting Attorney Matt Redle deems it necessary to have Poitra examined by an expert provided by the State after going over the report submitted by the defense's examiner, the trial date set for the end of August will most likely be changed.
Judge Fenn also denied defense attorney Erin Wardell's motion requesting a change of venue, citing insufficient evidence at this time to indicate that the jury pool would be compromised by the amount of publicity that the case has generated. Fenn also granted State's attorney Redle's motion to not allow a special jury questionnaire that was submitted by the defense. Redle stated that the questions that were submitted were too open ended and would further complicate the jury selection process, to which Judge Feen agreed.
As of now, the week-long 1st Degree Murder trial is still set to begin on August 30th, 2010.