Minot, ND – Proceedings in the trial of a local man accused of murder were abruptly halted during jury selection when a change of venue was ordered due to concerns about biased coverage by local media. Shawnee Krall, aged 30, was set to face a 10-day jury trial for the 2020 murder of Alice Quierolo. However, his court-appointed attorney, Stormy Vickers, raised concerns that his client would not receive a fair trial in Ward County.
Vickers stated that the media coverage surrounding the case had been damaging and referenced suppressed evidence, which he believed was highly prejudicial to Krall. These concerns were shared by District Judge Stacy Louser and the Ward County State’s Attorney staff.
Despite efforts to mitigate the influence of media coverage, potential jurors admitted they had knowledge of reports about the case and suppressed evidence. Additionally, one potential juror revealed that a detective from the Ward County Sheriff’s Office had shared suppressed information with high school students during a visit, an action described by the judge as “beyond the pale.”
Recognizing the difficulty of finding an unaffected jury in such a small state as North Dakota, Vickers expressed his concern that the community’s consciousness had been influenced by the case. Assistant State’s Attorney Stephenie Davis acknowledged the challenges but maintained that awareness of the trial was inevitable regardless of the venue.
Judge Louser voiced her growing concerns, noting that potential jurors had reversed their answers after being exposed to media coverage. As a result, a change in venue was ordered, though it was not determined whether the trial would be held in Burleigh or Cass County. Louser admonished local media outlets for including suppressed information in their coverage of the proceedings, referring to their judgment as “terrible.”
The trial of Shawnee Krall, who stands accused of murder, experienced a setback when a change of venue was ordered due to concerns about biased media coverage. The court-appointed attorney, Stormy Vickers, raised concerns about the damaging effect of the press on the case, particularly their mention of suppressed evidence. Even after admonishments, potential jurors admitted to being aware of media reports and evidence that had been suppressed. The judge expressed disappointment and ordered a change in venue, attributing it to the coverage provided by local media outlets.