The attorney for a man getting a new trial on charges he abused residents of the Beatrice State Developmental Center, is seeking a change of trial location and asking that Gage County District Judge Paul Korslund recuse himself from the case.
Brett McArthur filed the motions today in Gage County District Court on behalf of Matthew Pangborn. The Nebraska Supreme Court ruled that Pangborn’s trial court should not have allowed a prosecutor’s chart demonstrating authorities’ version of when and how the abuse occurred to be submitted to the jury for use during deliberations.
Pangborn was sentenced last October to 15 to 23 years in prison after being convicted of nine counts after being accused of beating and choking residents when he worked at the Beatrice State Developmental Center. McArthur addressed the change of venue motion in a Wednesday afternoon hearing, citing pre-trial publicity as the reason.
On the motion for Judge Korslund to remove himself, McArthur said the court heard a lot of evidence in the first trial, which included information from family members of the alleged victims.
Gage County Attorney Roger Harris disputed the need for a new trial location and on the defense motion for recusal, Harris said it’s ultimately the jury’s decision to decide guilt or innocence.
Five workers were charged in the investigation into abuse at BSDC. Pangborn was the only one to face trial. The others pleaded to reduced charges.
McArthur’s defense motions, filed Wednesday, missed a September 11th deadline set by the court for submitting motions. But, Judge Korslund said he was not inclined to overrule them only on that basis.
Both sides expect evidence will be submitted largely through documents and not witness testimony. The judge set October 17th for both sides to argue the motions.
By Doug Kennedy, KWBE, Beatrice