Judge denies move of venue in Chad Isaak’s murder trial

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Judge Reich has denied a request to move Chad Isaak’s trial out of Morton county. Isaak was in court Wednesday, July 1 on the motion hearing.

Thursday, July 2 the Judge issued the decision saying that there is not a great prejudice against the defendant in Morton County.

Reich said the defense team failed to show the publicity in the case was in fact prejudicial.

“The quantity of media coverage does not control a motion for change of venue; rather, the defendant must show there was prejudicial publicity which causes such bias that it would be impossible to select a fair and impartial jury,” says Reich in the court documents.

The State and the Defense team will come up with questions for a proposed jury questionnaire for potential jurors.

Isaak’s trial is set for Nov. 30 in Morton County.

Isaak is accused of killing four people in April of 2019 at RJR Maintenance and Management in Mandan.

On Wednesday the court also heard arguments on suppressing evidence in the case. Judge Reich has not ruled on that yet.

The motion to suppress evidence includes throwing out searches done of Isaak’s vehicle, which the defense says was not done with probable cause. Isaak’s lawyers add this “tainted evidence led to a chain reaction of evidence” in the case.

“The main issue would be to Mr. Isaak’s vehicle, the time that was searched and the lack of actual evidence that was documented and presented to the judge at the time, that connected the individual that was seen coming out of RJR to the individual that was seen getting into the white pickup truck,” Defense Attorney Robert Quick argued.

The state argues there were six pages of probable cause written by a Mandan Police Officer prior to the vehicle search. The state says a search warrant or consent was given for every search done.

“The defense’s argument seems to be that because there isn’t somebody following a murder suspect and there’s not an unbroken chain of evidence, that that isn’t probable cause. Well, that isn’t the probable cause standard. That’s a wholly unrealistic standard. Very few people committing a crime carry a camera crew along with them,” explained Morton County Assistant State’s Attorney Gabrielle Goter.

Goter says between eye witness testimony and surveillance video, there was sufficient evidence to get a search warrant for the vehicle, Isaak’s home, and his person– leading to all other evidence collected.

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