Ex-NFL Star Chmura Wins Jury Ruling

Friday, October 27th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WAUKESHA, Wis. (AP) — Jurors from outside southeastern Wisconsin will be empaneled for the sexual assault trial of former Green Bay Packers tight end Mark Chmura.

On Thursday, Chmura's lawyers successfully argued for the change, saying it would be impossible to find an impartial jury in Waukesha County because of pretrial publicity.

``We should not have to fight to get back to the presumption of innocence,'' defense attorney Gerald Boyle told Judge Mark Gempeler.

Gempeler said he has not decided where a jury will be selected, but ruled out southeastern Wisconsin, Brown County, where Green Bay is located, and the nearby Fox River Valley.

Gempeler said he was considering six or seven county seats in an area about the size of Waukesha County.

Chmura has been charged with third-degree sexual assault and child enticement after his children's 17-year-old baby sitter accused him of having sex with her without her consent during a post-prom party at his neighbor's Hartland home on April 9.

Boyle again attacked the criminal complaint against Chmura, saying it was packed with so many lewd details it has poisoned jurors through the media. He has blasted the complaint since it was issued in May.

District Attorney Paul Bucher opposed the motion, saying Chmura created the facts of the complaint.

Bucher argued to draw jurors from Waukesha County, saying Boyle did not prove prejudice.

The jury will travel to Waukesha where it probably will be sequestered, Bucher said later.

Chmura has pleaded innocent to both charges. Third-degree sexual assault is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Child enticement carries a maximum 30-year sentence. Both counts carry a $10,000 fine.

Chmura's neighbor, Robert Gessert, faces second- and fourth-degree sexual assault charges after an 18-year-old woman accused him of fondling her in a hot tub at the party. He also has pleaded innocent.

Gempeler ruled in September to try the men separately.