Trials of two men accused of killing sheriff moved to Tulsa County

Saturday, November 20th 2004, 4:09 pm
By: News On 6

PAWNEE, Okla. (AP) _ A Pawnee County judge has moved the trials of two men accused of killing Sheriff Dwight Woodrell Jr. to Tulsa County.

District Judge Jefferson Sellers granted change of venue requests by attorneys for James C. Taylor and Justin Lee Walker.

The defense had argued that the move was needed because widespread pretrial publicity made it impossible for an impartial jury to be seated in Pawnee County.

``I don't think the press has intentionally tried to poison the well ... but this is a small community,'' Sellers said in announcing his decision.

Prosecutors have charged Taylor, 37, and Walker, 26, with first-degree murder in the Oct. 13, 2001, fatal shooting of Woodrell, 36.

Woodrell was shot several times while investigating suspicious activity at the Spess Drilling Co. west of Cleveland, Okla., prosecutors said.

Sellers earlier set June 6 as the date for Taylor's trial and July 11 for Walker's trial.