A lawyer for a high profile double murder case told a judge Friday morning his client can't get a fair trial in Pitt County.
But the trial of James Richardson will be held in Pitt County, as Superior Court Judge Russell Duke denied the lawyer's request for a change of venue.
Richardson is charged with murdering Landon Blackley and Andrew Kirby outside the Other Place night club in Greenville in 2009.
The change of venue hearing was held this morning at the Pitt County Courthouse. Richardson's lawyer wanted the trial moved out of Pitt County because of extensive media coverage in the case.
Part of the evidence presented in the hearing included a survey done by the Fair Trial Initiative, a Durham-based group that helps with death penalty cases. That survey interviewed about 500 people in Pitt County, 82% who say they live in the county and have heard of the Richardson case.
The survey says of those, 35% have formed an opinion on his guilt or innocence, 26% said Richardson was guilty, 29% said they didn't think 12 impartial jurors could be found in the county and 15% didn't know.
District Attorney Clark Everett tried to discount the survey, saying only people who were out and about between 9 and 5 p.m. were questioned, not those who were working full-time during the day. He said the survey didn't ask people whether they thought Richardson was innocent, just if they thought he was guilty.
The D.A. said people commenting on web stories, such as on witn.com, could be from anywhere in the world, and not necessarily from Pitt County.
The murder trial is scheduled for March.
Viewers with disabilities can get assistance accessing this station's FCC Public Inspection File by contacting the station with the information listed below. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, 888-835-5322 (TTY), or firstname.lastname@example.org.