Abril trial moved to Haywood County

Published 1:05 pm Friday, August 22, 2008

Abril&squo;s attorney, Stephen Lindsay said that Buncombe County expressed some concerns about the size of the courtroom that would be available for the Polk trial.

Owens said that she will be performing the clerk duties during the November trial, which was tentatively set for the weeks of Nov. 10 and Nov. 17.

Superior Court Judge Zoro Guice, Jr. will still oversee the trial. Guice, Lindsay and special prosecutor James Coman met a few days ago and discussed the possibilities of Haywood or Rutherford counties. Lindsay said his preference was Haywood and the parties agreed.

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Abril&squo;s trial began on Aug. 4 and lasted three days before it was suggested to be held in Asheville. Guice granted a change of venue, but did not grant the state&squo;s other motions for a mistrial and for revoking Abril&squo;s bond.

The N.C. State Bureau of Investigation is currently investigating possible jury tampering on Abril&squo;s part for returning a call to a potential juror.

Abril was charged in August, 2006 with five counts of statutory rape and one count of sexual offense on two girls ages 10 and 11 at the time.

The alleged incidents occurred about 20 years ago. Abril filed for sheriff and then was charged after a grand jury handed down true bills of indictments. Abril won the election for sheriff a few months later and is currently serving his first term.

Last year the state motioned for a change of venue, but Judge James U. Downs denied the motion and the trial was planned to be in Polk County. Lindsay said after he stepped back and looked at the situation, he too believes that a fair trial could not be had in Polk County.