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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: Wyoming

Steele’s lawyers want trial moved to Wyo.

Edgar Steele's lawyers want his murder-for-hire trial moved to Wyoming. 

A change of venue request filed by Robert McAllister and Gary Amendola cites “negative pre-trial publicity” that will hinder finding an impartial jury in North Idaho.

The lawyers say ongoing news coverage, including the release of phone calls that are the basis for a witness tampering charge against Steele, was assisted by the U.S. government or Spokane County Jail officials.

“There was no need for anyone to release evidence in a criminal case to the media other than to gain an unfair advantage,” according to the motion.

The phone calls were actually made from the Kootenai County Jail - not Spokane, where Steele has since been housed. The Spokesman-Review obtained the recordings after they were played in open court at Steele's bail hearing last June.

McAllister and Amendola want the trial moved to U.S. District Court in Cheyenne, Wyo., where potential jurors who “know nothing about the negative and highly prejudicial pre-trial publicity” are available. If the request is denied, the lawyers want to conduct “careful and deliberate voir dire examination” regarding pre-trial publicity.

Federal prosecutors have until Thursday at 5 p.m. to respond.

Steele is accused of hiring a hitman turned FBI informant to kill his wife, Cyndi Steele. Prosecutors say he was involved with another woman overseas. In a prepared statement, Cyndi Steele says she knew of the woman, who she says was contacted by her husband as part of his ongoing legal work to stop human trafficking.

The trial is set to begin March 7.

Cops lose box of drugs w/ ‘METH’ on it

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — Officials in Wyoming want people to be on the lookout for a black box with white lettering that says “METH,” after a deputy lost a stash used to train police dogs.

Teton County sheriff’s Sgt. Lloyd Funk says the deputy accidentally left the box on a bumper after a canine training exercise Oct. 27. It contained nearly an ounce of methamphetamine.

The deputy drove off with the drugs perched on the vehicle.

The Jackson Hole News & Guide reports that officers literally trying to get drugs off the street haven’t been able to find the box.

Anyone with information is being asked to call the sheriff’s office. Sheriff Jim Whalen says someone possessing the amount of meth that was lost would face a felony charge.

Whalen says his office is taking action to make sure the mistake isn’t repeated.

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