Frisco homicide case to be tried in Summit County despite defense objections
Despite publicity concerns raised by the defense, a district judge ruled on Thursday to hold the trial of a 43-year-old Michigan man charged with second-degree murder at the Summit County Courthouse. Charles Sattler, a semi-professional mixed martial arts fighter, is accused of murdering local chef Blake Bostic in a drunken brawl outside of the Snowshoe Motel last year.
“The most important thing in our minds here is to ensure a fair trial,” said Fifth Judicial District Judge Karen Romeo, adding that there was not enough evidence of a community bias to change the venue.
While the defense provided a survey of 40 Summit County residents’ familiarity with the case, only a quarter thought Sattler would not be able to secure a fair trial. With a trial quickly approaching in June, Judge Romeo plans to send out notices for a jury soon, pulling from a larger jury pool to counter the case’s publicity.
The court on Thursday also reviewed phone calls made by Sattler in prison, admitting 18 of 23 reviewed statements as evidence. Deputy District Attorney Rusty Prindle said many of the calls contained self-referencing comments on Sattler’s ability in combat.
“This person has to know the outcome of what they’re doing,” Prindle said. “He’s talking about his perceived ability to do damage with his fists.”
In one of the conversations, Sattler mentions having a “pro card” in Vegas and Michigan, talking about his experience as a MMA fighter. In another, he tells his father, “It’s your fault for teaching me how to use these” (referring to his fists).
Other statements refer to the fight itself, which took place early in the morning on April 14, 2014. Sattler told investigators that he met Blake Bostic and his friend while he and Charles Upchurch were at Ollie’s Pub and Grill. The four men walked back to the Snowshoe Motel to continue drinking and smoking in the room where Sattler and Upchurch were staying, when a fight broke out in the parking lot.
Sattler claimed he intervened after Bostic struck Upchurch three times in the face, acting in defense of his friend. While police reported Upchurch had marks on his face, Prindle said witnesses saw Sattler punching Bostic in the face while he was unresponsive.
Sattler’s next appearance in court will be a motions hearing on May 28 at 2 p.m. His trial will follow two weeks later, on June 15 at 8:30 a.m.
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