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Stayner Wants Another Venue Change

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The last steps are expected this morning before the trial of a handyman accused of killing three Yosemite National Park tourists gets underway in San Jose. Final jury selection is expected today, after Judge Thomas Hastings rules on a defense request for another change of venue. Cary Stayner´s attorneys want the trial moved from Santa Clara County. They claim the jury pool may be biased. The trial was moved from Mariposa County. The court decided that news coverage there made it impossible to have a fair trial. Stayner attorney Marcia Morrissey says if the judge won´t move the trial, she wants more than 20 peremptory challenges. Those allow an attorney to dismiss a prospective juror with no stated reason. Morrissey says a court survey indicates 96 of 215 potential jurors said they had seen or read something about the case, and 46 percent believe Stayner is guilty. Another possible problem Hastings said last week he will ask the public and the media to leave the courtroom to make room for the 67 potential jurors. San Jose Mercury News Executive Editor David Yarnold says the newspaper´s attorney will be in court to fight the plan. Stayner is already serving a life term for the murder of Yosemite naturalist Joie Armstrong.

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