Report: Judge denies Edwin Lara change of venue request

Lara's lawyers argued he wouldn't get fair trial in Deschutes County

Edwin Lara in his first California court appearance, July 29, 2016. (KOIN)
Edwin Lara in his first California court appearance, July 29, 2016. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – If the aggravated murder trial of Edwin Lara, who is accused of murdering Kaylee Sawyer, goes to trial, it will do so in front of a jury of Deschutes County residents.

Kaylee Sawyer in an undated photo released by her family, July 26, 2016
Kaylee Sawyer in an undated photo released by her family, July 26, 2016.

KTVZ News reports Judge Michael A. Adler denied a request by Edwin Lara’s defense attorneys to move his murder trial to a different county.

Lara, a former Central Oregon Community College security officer, has been indicted by a grand jury with four counts of aggravated murder for allegedly kidnapping, attempting to sexually assault and murdering Sawyer in Bend.

Lara’s criminal defense attorneys filed a motion, under seal, to request a change of venue.

KTVZ reports the defense attorneys representing Lara argued their client would be unable to get a fair trial in Deschutes County because of the intense media attention.

A survey conducted by the DA’s Office revealed that Portland media covered the Lara case more closely than local media in Deschutes County, according to KTVZ.

Lara’s defense team also filed a motion to restrict media access in the Lara case.

The motion prompted The Bulletin newspaper to file a motion to intervene. The paper’s attorney, Duane Bos¬worth, argued that court proceedings must remain open to media, the paper reports.

According to the paper, Adler, the judge, said shutting out the media would be a violation of the Constitution.

He did, however, impose tighter rules for how proceedings will be covered including ordering all photos and video to be recorded only when the court was in session and on-the-record. The judge banned any photo of video showing computers or notes, “no matter how out of focus, and limited audio recording devices to the last row of the public seating area of the courtroom,” the paper reported.