Juror's revelation might be enough to move double-murder retrial away from Jefferson County; decision expected Monday
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Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News
Defense attorney Richard Davies delivers his opening argument earlier in the week as Superior Court Judge Keith Harper, background, listens. Harper will rule Monday whether to quit the trial and move it elsewhere.

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND ญญญ— The prosecution in the Michael J. Pierce double-murder retrial said Friday (July 19) that it could not put up much of a fight against the defense's most recent request for a change of venue.

“We can't really put up much opposition, if any, as to why the case should stay here,” Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney Scott Rosekrans said during a morning change of venue hearing in Jefferson County Superior Court.

Speaking to Superior Court Judge Keith Harper, Rosekrans said he thought the revelation earlier in the week that juror 13 in the trial, Laura Meynberg of Port Townsend, might have seen Pierce walking by the side of the road on the night of the killings did not necessarily exclude her as testifying as a witness for the prosecution.

It did, however, bring up the issue of securing an impartial jury for the trial within Jefferson County, Rosekrans said.

“No matter how strong our best efforts, everything we did or could to protect this process, it's such a small county, these issues come up,” Rosekrans said.

Richard Davies, Pierce's attorney, reiterated the defense support for moving the trial elsewhere during the Friday hearing.

“From the very beginning of the case, we've advocated for a change of venue,” Davies said.

“Mr. Pierce will wave speedy trial as far in the future as necessary to secure that.”

Harper said he will make a decision on the change-of-venue request Monday morning when the trial restarts at 9 a.m.

Harper said if the case were to be moved to Kitsap County, the closest jurisdiction besides Clallam County, the earliest another trial could start would be October.

Pierce, 38, is accused of killing Quilcene residents Pat and Janice Yarr and setting their house on fire to hide the deaths March 18, 2009.

A Jefferson County jury convicted Pierce in 2010 of two counts of first-degree murder, and Pierce was serving a life sentence in Walla Walla State Penitentiary when the state Court of Appeals reversed the conviction on a technicality last July 27.

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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: July 19. 2013 2:19PM
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