Judge moves Bisard's crash trial to Allen County
The Indianapolis Metro Police officer accused of causing a fatal 2010 crash while driving drunk will have his trial in Fort Wayne.
Judge Grant Hawkins said December 6 that the case had generated too much publicity for Bisard to get a fair trial in central Indiana.
Allen County was the location chosen for the trial during a court hearing Thursday.
Bisard faces charges of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, reckless homicide and criminal recklessness in the 2010 crash that killed 30-year-old Eric Wells and critically injured Mary Mills and Kurt Weekly.
"We are very confident that Allen County will handle and Judge Surbeck will handle all the issues in the case very, very well," said John Kautzman, Bisard's attorney.
Kautzman explained to Eyewitness News why he wanted the trial moved out of central Indiana.
"Obviously due to the history of this case. I don't think anybody that looked at this case objectively thought that it would a fair and impartial jury that would be picked from Marion County. So, at that point, we had to get ourselves outside of the Indianapolis media reach," he said.
The deputy prosecutor said St. Joseph County and Jefferson County were the other two counties suggested as alternative venues.
"The case involves driving in an urban area and one of the considerations we had is this trial take place in an urban area where that driving behavior can come to light," said Denise Robinson, deputy prosecutor.
Eyewitness News asked Robinson if Bisard could have received a fair trial in Indianapolis.
"I don't know. I think so. I think we would have had to gotten a test jury to see if it would work," she sai9d.
Prosecutors will have to transfer an office to Allen County but do not believe it will be a hardship for witnesses, victims or family members.
"We at least know where we are going. We'll be there even if we have to sleep in a tent," said Mary Wells, mother of Eric Wells, who was killed in the crash. "We're getting close. It's been two and a half years. It's been a long road. We can see the end of the tunnel. The change of venue wasn't a big difference for us. We'll be there from start to finish because this is my son. He lost his life for no reason. The person who did it was responsible to uphold the law and he was the biggest lawbreaker there was."
The case has undergone a series of delays over admission of blood tests which showed Bisard had a blood-alcohol level more than twice the legal limit. Bisard's blood was drawn by a technician at a clinic, not a hospital, and proper procedure was not followed in the handling of the blood evidence on the day of the crash. It was later revealed that one of the vials had not been stored under refrigeration in the evidence room.
If convicted, Bisard could face 20 or more years in prison.
The four-week trial is expected to get underway in the fall of 2013.