Attorneys Ask For Change Of Venue For Man Accused In Sac And Fox Officer's Death
The manslaughter case in the death of a Sac and Fox police officer is now one step closer to going to trial. Tuesday, the defendant's attorneys urged the judge to move the trial to a different county.
It was around 6 a.m., January 24, 2017, when Sac and Fox Nation Police Officer Nathan Graves was headed south on Highway 99, and Justin Henley, 21, was driving north in his pickup.
Investigators say Henley tried to pass a car in a "no passing zone" and crashed into Officer Graves. Prosecutors charged Henley with first degree manslaughter.
Just recently, News 9 talked with the wife of the fallen officer, who says she wants justice.
“If you are not going to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law for the life of a police officer who died in the line of duty protecting and serving, then who are you going to do it for,” Janet Graves said.
Since the accident, GoFundMe accounts, donation drives and memorials for Graves have already taken place.
Henley's attorneys feel this brings an unfair bias against their client. They say due to pre-trial publicity, it’s possible that the jury pool could already be tainted.
“Mr. Henley, he was going to work in the morning. There’s no alcohol, there’s no drugs. There’s no allegations other than he made a traffic mistake,” said Defense Attorney John Hunsucker.
They filed a motion for a change venue.
“We thought that it would be better to move it maybe to another county where the highway wasn’t named after the policeman…,” said Defense Attorney David Slane.
But the judge denied the motion and believes they will get a fair trial in Lincoln County.
“And so, we’ll do our best. But we respectfully disagree with her. We think that there has been a lot of publicity. And the concern is people may have already made their minds up,” Slane said.
They meet again on Friday and hope to go to trial next week.