ANDERSON — A change of venue motion in the death penalty case of Carl Roy Webb Boards II has been filed.

The Madison County prosecutor’s office is asking Madison Circuit Court Division 3 Judge Andrew Hopper to deny the motion and has presented an alternative.

Chief Deputy Prosecutor Andrew Hanna has filed a motion to deny the change of venue request and proposed selecting a jury in another county and conducting the trial in Madison County.

Boards, 42, is accused of fatally shooting Elwood police officer Noah Shahnavaz, 24, through the windshield of his police cruiser early on July 31 in Elwood.

He is charged with murder, two counts of resisting law enforcement, unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, firearm enhancement, habitual offender, life without parole and the death penalty.

Hanna declined to comment further on the filing of the two motions.

Boards is scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 30 and his trial is set for Jan. 9.

The Herald Bulletin obtained the change of venue motion filed by Boards’ attorney Joe Duepner through a Freedom of Information request.

The motion states that Boards cannot receive a fair trial in Madison County for the following reasons: public hostility against the accused; public outrage over the offense; prejudicial news reporting or editorializing; speculative opinions as to the personality and character of Boards; disclosure of inadmissible evidence or prior criminal records.

In a response, chief deputy prosecutor Andrew Hanna wrote that the change of venue motion doesn’t comply with court rules because it fails to allege any “fact” but merely makes statements without supporting facts or documents.

Hanna said the seating of a jury can be accomplished during questioning to determine if a verdict can be reached based on the facts of the case.

The state’s response reads that the granting of change of venue is discretionary and the determination is a decision for the judge.

“A defendant must demonstrate the existence of two distinct elements,” Hanna wrote. “Prejudicial pre-trial publicity and the inability of jurors to render an impartial verdict.”

Hanna said the motion for a change of venue is premature because it doesn’t include specific facts that the state can respond to.

“The State acknowledges that there has been publicity regarding the charged offenses,” Hanna said. “However, at this juncture Defendant fails to demonstrate that he cannot receive a fair trial in Madison County, and the state objects to the change of venue from Madison County.”

The last death penalty case in Madison County was against Fred Baer for the murder of a Lapel mother and her young daughter. A jury was selected in Huntington County to hear the case and was housed in Anderson and sequestered during the trial.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.

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