Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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January 30, 2014

Change of venue requested for man facing multiple counts of sexual assault, abuse involving minors

PRINCETON — A Mercer County Circuit Court judge will try to select a jury in the case of a local man facing multiple charges, including possession of child pornography, before determining whether to grant a change of venue.

John Spaulding, 40, of Montcalm was arrested in October 2013 and charged with five counts of sexual assault first degree, one count of attempt to commit a felony, one count of sexual abuse first degree, and 50 counts of possession of material depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. The two victims were ages 3 and 14, Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ash said when the charges were filed.

Defense attorney Harold Wolfe argued Thursday before Judge William Sadler that extensive media coverage would keep Spaulding from getting a fair trial in Mercer County. Daily Telegraph Editor Samantha Perry and other local media representatives submitted copies of stories and other materials subpoenaed by the court.

Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney George Sitler said there was no way to determine whether local media coverage and social media comments had prejudiced the jury pool.

Sadler said he would see whether a jury could be impaneled before deciding whether to grant a change of venue. Spaulding’s trial is scheduled for Feb. 4.

The alleged offenses occurred on or about Feb. 18, 2012 to July 26, 2012, according to the indictment. John Spaulding, 40, of Montcalm was arrested in October 2013 and charged with five counts of sexual assault first degree, one count of attempt to commit a felony, one count of sexual abuse first degree, and 50 counts of possession of material depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. The two victims were ages 3 and 14, Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ash said when the charges were filed.

, defense attorney Harold B. Wolfe III

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