A judge grants a change of venue for the trial of two Paris residents accused of murder.
Wired PR News – A Lamar County Judge has ruled to move the trial of two men charged with the dragging death of a 24 year-old Paris man to another jurisdiction. Judge Scott McDowell granted a change of venue from Paris to Sulphur Springs, which is located 40 miles from Paris in Hopkins County, for the trial of Shannon Finley and Charles Crostley. Both currently remain in Lamar County jail.
Adding to the mounting controversy surrounding the murder of black Paris resident Brandon McClelland, which many believe was a racially motivated crime, a lone witness, Mary Madewell, testified that Finley and Crostley could not receive a fair trial in Paris due to several news articles relating to the case being released by local media. However, some believe that the testimony of Madewell, who is managing editor of the Paris News, should not have been allowed, due to her role in the writing and publication of several articles pertaining to the murder.
A bond reduction hearing for Charles Crostley was also held in McDowell’s court last week. Crostley, whose bond is set at $500,000, is also accused of tampering with evidence and retaliating against witnesses. Defense attorney David Turner requested the bond be lowered to $25,000, stating Crostley would be able to make the bond if a reduction was granted. McDowell is set rule on that request at a later date. Turner also made a request that “outside” media not be allowed to attend the trial. That request has been denied.
This is the second time Finley has been charged with murder. In 2004, Shannon Finley, was sentenced by the same judge to 4 years in prison for shooting Mark Sneed in the head 3 times. Finley pleaded guilty for a reduced sentence in that case.