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Sac County murder trial moved to Fort Dodge

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SAC CITY, Iowa | A judge on Friday moved John Green's murder trial from Sac City to Fort Dodge in Webster County.

Public defender Charles Kenville requested the change of venue Thursday, saying that it would be hard for Green to receive a fair trial in Sac County. Because of extensive media coverage the case has received and the county's small population, the jury pool would be "... saturated with persons with preformed opinions on this case ...," Kenville said in his motion.

Prosecutors did not resist the request, and District Judge Gary McMinimee ordered the move after a Friday morning pretrial conference.

His trial remains scheduled for Dec. 8 in the new location, 45 miles away.

Green, 55, is charged in Sac County District Court with first-degree murder for the 2009 death of his former roommate, Mark Koster. Green is accused of choking Koster to death in Koster's home. Koster's body was found hidden in the basement in 2012, when the new homeowner was remodeling the basement.

Green was arrested in March in Florida.

Kenville said that during depositions, witnesses have said the case was a topic of general discussion in the community, and Sac County's small population increases the chance that potential jurors have talked about the case with witnesses or Koster's relatives.

Two previous Sac County murder trials were moved to Webster County for similar reasons.

Kenville on Thursday also asked that statements Green made to police after his arrest be suppressed because he was questioned without first being advised of his Miranda rights to counsel. Any statements made before Green was informed of his rights should be considered tainted, Kenville said in his motion to suppress.

McMinimee scheduled a hearing on that motion, and all other pretrial motions yet to be filed, for Nov. 19.

If found guilty as charged, Green would face a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole.

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