Second-degree murder charge dropped in Charles Sattler case
With the trial for Charles Sattler quickly approaching in September, a motion to drop second-degree murder charges and change the venue of the trial was granted by Fifth Judicial District Judge Karen Romeo.
The prosecution filed a motion to drop the second-degree murder charge earlier this month, leaving Sattler with just one charge: first-degree assault.
“We’re just trying to refine the charges in hopes that the jury that will hear the case in September is able to reach a verdict,” Fifth Judicial District Attorney Bruce Brown said on Thursday.
Romeo also granted a motion by the defense to relocate the trial to the Eagle County District Court, in hopes of being able to select a jury pool that had not been exposed to the case.
Sattler, 43, is accused of getting into a fight with former Incline Bar and Grill chef Blake Bostic outside of Frisco’s Snowshoe Motel the morning of April 14, 2014. Bostic died hours later from blunt force trauma to the head and neck, according to a Summit County Coroner’s report.
Sattler’s last trial, in June, resulted in a mistrial due to a hung jury. Jurors could not reach a unanimous conclusion for either of the two charges that he faced at that time.
“This is the first time I’ve tried a case a second time,” assistant district attorney Rusty Prindle said.
Romeo expects that the jury selection process will be a faster process during the retrial in September. In respect to the voir dire process — where jurors are screened for potential bias or knowledge of the case — she instructed both the prosecution and defense to refrain from mentioning the mistrial.
“There’s no relevance. It would cause confusion,” she said. “All of us need to make a concerted effort to not mention the trial.”
She added that court rulings on evidence from the previous trial would remain the same, unless new evidence was presented.
Public defender Stacy Shobe noted that the defense would file a motion to bring in a cardiologist as a witness to discuss the role a heart defect might have played in Bostic’s death. During the trial in June, Romeo had denied the defense’s request to bring in the cardiologist as a witness, but Shobe said she would file a motion for reconsideration in light of the second-degree murder charges being dropped.
A motions hearing to discuss this change will be held at the Summit County District Court on Sept. 9, at 2 p.m. The trial will take place at the Eagle County District Court on Sept. 23 and will continue for up to two weeks.
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