The Herald Bulletin

Overnight Update

State News

December 6, 2012

Judge orders new venue for officer in fatal crash

INDIANAPOLIS — A judge on Thursday decided to move the trial of an Indianapolis police officer accused of causing a fatal 2010 crash by driving drunk.

Marion County Judge Grant Hawkins said the case surrounding David Bisard had generated too much publicity for him to get a fair trial in central Indiana.

"When I got off the elevator, four cameras were pointed at me," Hawkins said during a brief hearing. "That indicates that interest in the case lingers" more than two years after it began, he added.

Deputy Prosecutor Denise Robinson told reporters after the hearing that both sides had known a change of venue was likely because of extensive coverage in the Indianapolis media market, which sweeps a large portion of the state, and public perception of the case.

"The defendant is entitled to a fair trial," she said. "The state is entitled to a fair trial."

Bisard's lawyer, John Kautzman, would not comment.

Hawkins met with attorneys for both sides behind closed doors to discuss possible sites for the trial, but Robinson would not say what options were considered. It wasn't clear when Hawkins would rule on the new site, but another hearing was scheduled for Feb. 14. Robinson said that at that time the judge would likely set a trial date for sometime late next summer.

Aaron Wells, whose son Eric was killed when Bisard's cruiser slammed into two motorcycles stopped at a traffic light on Aug. 6, 2010, doubted there was anywhere the case could avoid media coverage.

"I don't think there's a county in the state of Indiana where there's not going to be cameras there," he told reporters. "I think it's going to follow them."

Bisard faces charges of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, reckless homicide and criminal recklessness. The crash also injured two other people.

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