Venue change sought in McDuffie County slaying

Friday, Oct. 12, 2012 7:45 AM
Last updated 11:40 PM
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R. Wells  Hand out from BCSO
Hand out from BCSO
R. Wells

THOMSON — A change of venue has been requested in the trial of a McDuffie County man charged last year with killing his ex-wife and dragging her body into another county.

Caryn Lobdell, the public defender representing Ricky Wells, filed the request in Superior Court.

In her motion, Lobdell asks that Wells’ trial be moved beyond a 75-mile radius of Thomson to a county with a constitutionally composed traverse jury list.

Lobdell said newspapers, radio and television stations have devoted great attention to the Sept. 29, 2011, slaying of Jennifer Kitchens Wells, 36, and publicity has severely prejudiced potential jurors against her client.

Court officials called the filing premature in the proceedings of the case. A change of venue is usually requested closer to the trial date.

Neither Ricky Wells nor co-defendant Tina Wells has been arraigned, although they have been held in jail more than a year.

Lobdell said that to try Ricky Wells in McDuffie County, where the community feeling is strongly set against him, will violate his right to a fair trial.

Tina Wells is represented by Thomson attorney Lucy Bell, who was appointed by the Public Defender’s Of­fice. No request for a venue change has been filed by Bell.

After a change of venue motion is filed, a hearing may be scheduled and a judge will listen to each party’s presentation when determining whether to grant the motion. If the motion is granted, the judge will issue an order for a change of venue. The case will then be transferred to the new jurisdiction.

There is no word on when such a hearing will be held.

Court officials expect Ricky Wells and Tina Wells, his girlfriend, will be arraigned this month, with trial planned for next year.

Both suspects are charged individually and as co-conspirators with one count of malice murder, two counts of felony murder, one count of aggravated assault, one count of armed robbery, three counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, and three counts of aggravating circumstances.

The indictment says the slaying was outrageously and wantonly vile, horrible and inhuman. The defendants are accused of shooting the victim multiple times and dragging her behind a pickup for several miles.

Because of the aggravating circumstances, there is a possibility this could be a death penalty case. Both Ricky Wells and Tina Wells are in the McDuffie County Law Enforcement Center, held on $1 million bond.

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seenitB4 10/12/12 - 08:42 am
This is so sad

I can't even read about this anymore..

Willow Bailey
Willow Bailey 10/12/12 - 08:42 am
There was no excessive

There was no excessive coverage. They are reaching. I hope the request is denied and the two face their own community.

aninsider 10/12/12 - 08:56 am
Stalling Tactics

Pretty much wouldn't matter if they moved to another COUNTRY. This crime was so heinous that moving it won't make much of a difference where the case is heard.

JRC2024 10/12/12 - 09:16 am
Do you really care what

Do you really care what happens to them? What kind of people would do a thing like they did?

Jane18 10/12/12 - 05:20 pm
What kind of person.................................

You know how a domesticated animal can, after a while in the wild, can become feral? That's what I see happening in human beings. They watch, read, and hear about things done to people, and for some reason it grows and manifests itself in their brains. The most of us could not and would not, ever entertain thoughts concerning torture, pain, and murder. But, there are some evil people on this earth and it doesn't matter to them who or how they commit these attrocities. I am a woman that most definitely believes in the death penalty and I sincerely hope our prosecutor here in McDuffie County asks for it!

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