Judge denies change of venue for defendants in Zaevion Dobson trial

Richard Williams, Christopher Bassett and Kipling Colbert (L to R) appeared in court on Friday. (Source: Knoxville Police Department)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – A Knox County judge ruled Wednesday that the trial for the three men accused of killing Fulton County High School student Zaevion Dobson will remain in Knox County.

Knox County Criminal Court Judge Steven Sword recognized that while Dobson’s death has received a large amount of publicity, the majority of the attention has focused on Dobson, and not the allegations against Richard Williams III, Kipling Colbert Jr. and Christopher Bassett.

The trio are charged with shooting and killing Dobson on a Lonsdale porch as he tried to protect two girls. Their defense argued that it would be impossible for the men to receive a fair trial in Knoxville and requested to move the trial elsewhere.

Credit: RIPZAE

READ MORE: ESPN 30 for 30 film tells story of Zaevion Dobson

Sword ruled that local and state coverage has followed the defendants court proceedings, but it’s no different than other high-profile cases in the area. The judge added that none of the media coverage was inflammatory. However, a large portion of the  coverage, especially on the national level, portrayed Dobson as heroic, the judge said, garnering sympathy for Dobson and his family. The judge noted that the court would have to instruct the jurors against sympathy.

Judge Sword also found that nearly two years have passed since the shooting occurred and very little new information has been reported recently.

More Stories: Zaevion Dobson

The judge said the defendants can renew their request after a jury is selected if they feel that a fair jury wasn’t seated.


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