PERRY, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Russell Holt's defense attorney has filed a change of venue motion seeking to move his client's upcoming murder trial to a different courthouse.
Holt, a former Georgia Department of Corrections probation officer, is charged with shooting his girlfriend Jessica Wolfe last March. Wolfe worked as a legal assistant in the Houston County's District Attorney's Office. The motion cites the media attention and publicity surrounding the case. Defense attorney Frank Hogue argues that it would be a conflict of interest to have the trial in the same courthouse where Wolfe once worked.
"The tensions are high," Hogue said, "but more than that, the likelihood that it would be difficult to find 12 jurors who haven't formed an opinion on the case one way or the other."
Bibb County Judge Tripp Self told attorneys he will look at other venue options, including some courthouses in Houston County, before making a ruling. But the change of venue possibility is unlikely.
Self is also reviewing the motion to throw out certain statements Holt made during a police interrogation. Attorneys agreed that some of the statements will not be allowed during the trial, but Hogue argues the entire interview was unconstitutional.
"At the very beginning of the police interview, he asked for a lawyer," Hogue said, "that's his Fifth Amendment right and he exercised that right."
Holt is currently out on bond. He's charged with several counts including malice murder, felony murder and aggravated assault. The trial is set to begin April 29.