A Davenport man charged in the fatal stabbing of Romane Nunn Sr. in August 2016 in LeClaire Park wants his trial moved out of Scott County.
Rebecca G. Ruggero, the attorney for William Earl Crawford, said in a motion filed last month that “due to the extensive media coverage of this case and large number of Facebook and/or other social media postings, such a degree of prejudice exists in Scott County that there is a substantial likelihood that a fair and impartial trial cannot be preserved with a jury selection.”
“We just want this to be a one-time deal, one fair impartial jury for Mr. Crawford,” she said Wednesday during a hearing lasting less than 20 minutes in Scott County District Court. “We don’t want to come back. We don’t want any issues. We want to make sure that we’re very careful in selecting a forum that we know will not be unduly prejudiced by inflammatory pretrial publication."
Ruggero submitted nine news articles and social media posts to Scott County Judge Thomas Reidel during the hearing and suggested that the trial be moved to Dubuque, Waterloo or Des Moines.
Assistant Scott County Attorney Kimberly Shepherd objected to the motion and argued that the majority of the articles submitted by Ruggero were from August and September 2016.
“I don’t think there’s anything in these articles that can be shown to be so inflammatory to the point where we would not be able to get a fair and impartial jury,” Shepherd said.
She also said the effect of pretrial publicity, if there is any, may not be known until prospective jurors are questioned. Shepherd suggested that jurors be questioned individually so as not to prejudice the entire jury pool.
District Judge Thomas Reidel said he would take the matter under advisement. Ruggero said she would submit additional news clippings provided by her client for the judge’s consideration.
Crawford, 43, will be tried Aug. 21 on charges of first-degree murder and willful injury resulting in serious injury.
Davenport police were called to LeClaire Park in downtown Davenport at 8:21 p.m. Aug. 18, 2016, in response to a stabbing that occurred as scores of people were in the park playing the popular mobile app Pokemon Go.
According to police, Crawford and co-defendants Durell R. Parks Jr., 35, and Terrell G. Bloch, 46, approached Nunn in the park and assaulted him.
More than one witness told police that Crawford had a knife in his hand and that Nunn was stabbed in the chest, according to preliminary hearing testimony Aug. 30 from former Davenport Police Sgt. Shawn Roth.
Nunn was taken to Genesis Medical Center-East Rusholme Street, Davenport, where he died. Preliminary autopsy results revealed that he died from a wound to his main heart artery, Roth testified.
Crawford and Parks had blood on their shoes when taken into custody, according to court documents. Both were booked into the Scott County Jail the next morning.
Bloch was arrested Sept. 14. According to court documents, Bloch told police that he punched Nunn twice before fleeing the scene.
Parks pleaded guilty in April to willful injury resulting in serious injury, a Class C felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. He will be sentenced Sept. 7.
Bloch also is charged with first-degree murder and willful injury resulting in serious injury. His trial also is slated for Aug. 21.