BURLINGTON, Vt. – A judge has refused to move the trial of a man facing murder charges in a wrong-way highway crash that killed five teenagers who were driving home from a concert.
State Superior Court Judge Kevin Griffin rejected a call by the lawyers of the 37-year-old Steven Bourgoin to move the process of Chittenden County because of what they felt was an extensive pre-trial publicity, the Burlington Free Press reported .
“Chittenden County has the largest pool of jurors from which a screen can be selected in the state,” the judge wrote in the decision, issued last week. “Given the state of the nature of the news alleged Suspect to harm, this fact further supports the Court’s finding that a change of location is unfounded.”
Lawyer Bob Katims on Monday declined to comment on the decision of the judge. In March, Katims, a notification shall be submitted to the court that he planned to use an insanity defense.
Bourgoin pleaded not guilty to five counts of second-degree murder in the death of the teenagers, who were present at the high schools in Vermont and New Hampshire. Prosecutors say Bourgoin drove his pick-up truck the wrong way on Interstate 89 on Oct. 8, 2016, and collided head-on with the students of the vehicle.
After the first crash, Bourgoin stole the police cruiser of one of the participating officers, and then hit seven cars, causing several injuries, prosecutors say.
The first crash killed four students from Harwood Union High School in duxbury and a friend who at Kimball Union Academy in Meriden, New Hampshire. The students were on their way home from a concert in South Burlington.
The teenagers, who died on the site of the crash in Williston, were Mary Harris, 16, of Moretown; Cyrus Zschau, 16, of Moretown; Liam Hale, 16, of Fayston; Janie Cozzi, 15, of Fayston; and Eli Brookens, 16, of Waterbury.
Classmates, teachers and staff at Harwood Union held a wake for them, and about 1000 people have visited.
This story has been corrected to show that the decision was taken last week, not on Monday.
Information from: The Burlington Free Press, http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com