Jury from outside Nashville to hear Perry March murder trial
By AILENE TORRES, Staff writer
A jury from outside of Nashville will be seated to hear the upcoming trial of Perry March on charges he murdered his wife and disposed of her body, a Davidson County Criminal Court judge ruled today.
But Judge Steven Dozier did not immediately decide from which county the jury would come from and even left the door open to the possibility of moving the entire trial to another jurisdiction.
The decision came in response to a motion filed by March's defense team seeking to change the venue for his third and final criminal trial. March, 45, was convicted earlier this year in separate Nashville trials stemming from his theft of money from an employer, and for a failed jailhouse plot to kill his missing wife's parents.
He is scheduled to go to trial in August on the murder case. March's wife, Janet, disappeared without a trace in 1996.
In requesting the change of venue, March's attorney, John Herbison argued that the potential jury pool was poisoned by the pervasive, extensive and inflammatory nature of the media coverage in Nashville. He suggested the case should be moved to Memphis, where two members of March's defense team have offices.
The judge agreed there had been extensive coverage, although he disagreed that it had been inflammatory. He said an impartial jury could be picked in Nashville but said he didn't want the venue issue to become the subject of a future appeal.
"I don't think it's worth being an issue," Dozier said. "Mr. March is entitled to a fair trial. I will grant the motion for change of venue."
Prosecutor Tom Thurman said the state did not have a position about what venue should be selected, but would prefer a more neutral location like Knoxville or Chattanooga.