Defendant wants venue change in Carmel assault trial

Robert Kitzinger

Richard Essex/Eyewitness News

Hamilton County - One of the four Carmel High School basketball players charged in the assault of younger students says he wants his trial moved.

Eyewitness News was at the Hamilton County Jail when Robert Kitzinger and three of his former teammates bonded out of jail. His picture has been shown dozens of times, which is why Kitzinger's lawyer wants his trial moved from Hamilton County - too much attention from the press.

"Yes, there is a lot of media attention. I have never been asked as much about any case as I have this case and there are a lot of very important, significant crimes being committed every day and this has garnered just as much attention as any of them," said Joel Schumm, IU School of Law.

Kitzinger has been charged with multiple misdemeanor counts for battery and criminal recklessness, stemming from alleged assaults that occurred on a Carmel school bus and in a locker room.

The change of venue motion goes on to say that because of the press coverage, the prospective jury pool is tainted and has created a sense of hostility toward Kitzinger.

"It is understandable the public is interested in it, but at the same time, these kids are entitled to a fair trial and there is some doubt whether they can get that in Hamilton County because of all the media attention," said Schumm.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Sonia Leerkamp contends otherwise.

"I know the environment is highly-charged because of all the publicity it has received," she said.

But Leerkamp says not every possible juror in the county watches TV and reads the paper and she see no reason to move the case elsewhere. The final decision rests with the judge.

"I think he has a good chance of getting it. Judges tend to be cautious in these kind of things, because they don't want a case reversed," the prosecutor said.

A trial date has not been set for Kitzinger and calls to his lawyer were not returned.