News coverage of the Kearns video store slaying has been extensive and, in many instances, inaccurate, say attorneys for the man accused of murdering Anna Holmes.
Legal defenders Andrew Valdez and Lisa Remal also believe that their client, Charles Kenneth McCovey, did not intentionally kill Holmes but that the shooting was accidental.The attorneys filed an appeal Monday asking the Utah Supreme Court to grant a change of venue and to reduce the charge from first-degree murder to second-degree murder.
McCovey, 44, also known as Charles Kenneth Hodges, is accused of shooting Holmes, 31, in the head during a robbery April 22 at Video Voyager, 5448 S. 4220 West. Holmes, a pregnant West Valley mother, died a short time later. The baby was delivered by Caesarean section and has since been released from University Hospital.
A trial has been set for Jan. 17 before 3rd District Judge Raymond Uno.
Uno has denied the motions for a change of venue and a reduction of the charge.
According to a petition filed Monday in the high court, media coverage has been extensive, prejudicial and, at times, misleading. The media quoted a Salt Lake County sheriff's lieutenant who said the bandit, after robbing the store, placed the gun to Holmes' head, fired and then stated, "That'll take care of her."
That scenario, however, is not true, says the petition. "None of these details, spread throughout the county through daily publicity, will be admitted as evidence against the defendant. However, they form an inevitable part of the trial due to the pervasiveness of the publicity."
Witnesses to the shooting said McCovey was holding the gun against the back of the victim's head with the barrel pointed upward. And after the shooting, McCovey's only words were: "Everybody get down."
An autopsy conducted by the state medical examiner's office showed the shot was almost a near miss, the petition states.