SPRINGFIELD, Mo — From the bench, to a jury. That was the decision granted today in the 2015 1st degree murder case of Dee Dee Blanchard.
Godejohn originally filed a motion waiving his right to a jury trial, but after the original judge rescinded from the case, the defense once again filed for a jury; But not without concerns for a fair and just hearing.
Although completely different cases, Circuit Judge David Jones brought up a lot of similarities in the trial of Mr. Godejohn today, and the 2015 trial regarding the shooting of on-duty Springfield Police Officer Aaron Pearson.
Both were high profile cases with a lot of media coverage, and both will be tried before a jury.
An impartial jury, as promised by the 6th Amendment.
“If it didn’t have as much publicity as this case, it probably was very close to it,” said Circuit Judge David Jones in relations of this case to the trail against the shooter of SPD Officer Aaron Pearson.
“I’m about 99.9 percent certain that we will be able to pick a jury right here in Greene County,” said Jones.
He plans on bringing in 80 potential jurors before selecting the final 12 (plus alternates), and made it clear to the defense that the case would stay local.
“You’re not going to St. Louis and you’re not going to Kansas City,” said Jones.
Nicholas Godejohn responded with “yes, your honor” as Judge Jones asked if he agreed to those terms.
The trial is set to start on December 11, 2017.
“If someone on the jury panel can honestly say, despite seeing interviews of information on the case, that they can be fair and impartial, then that’s probably enough to allow them to be on the jury,” said Adam Woody, an attorney in Springfield.
Unlike a bench trial, where the judge is both the fact finder and the umpire calling balls and strikes, a jury trial relies on 12 people to issue a verdict.
And although no evidence was shown today in court, the decision allows us inside the defense’s case.
“Often times when a case is overly emotional, or emotion is high, thats typically not the best for a jury to hear because a jury can often play off their emotion. Whereas if there are factual issues or mental health issues, those are okay facts to bring to the jury,” said Woody.
This is the 2nd case regarding the murder of Dee Dee Blanchard. Her daughter, Gypsy pleaded guilty to 2nd degree murder in July 2016.