Judge decides to move Santa Fe HS shooting trial

Thursday, February 28, 2019
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Change of venue request granted for accused Santa Fe High School shooter

SANTA FE, Texas (KTRK) -- The Galveston County District Court Judge overseeing the trial of accused Santa Fe High School shooter Dimitrios Pagourtzis has decided to move the trial out of the county.

This news comes two days after Pagourtzis' first public courtroom appearance. Monday, he was seen with his wrists, waist and ankles chained.

The hearing was to determine a change of venue, requested by defense, citing hundreds of social media comments on local news articles, giving them a window into how the potential jury pool feels.

"It gives us something we can point to and say, 'See, the community feels this way because there's 1,100 comments on one story and 98% of them have already judged him guilty,'" explained defense attorney Nick Poehl.

The district attorney's office did not provide any comments on camera, but in court gave the judge several letters from local mayors, and said through the process of voir dire, they could find a fair and impartial jury in Galveston County.

Galveston County District Judge John Ellisor made his decision about the change of venue on Wednesday.

Surviving victims and families of those killed weighed in on the change.

"It's not right. He shouldn't get any kind of special treatment," Sadie Fisher said.

Sadie is the mother of Shana Fisher, who was killed in the shooting. She said it's not fair for families to have to travel to see the trial.

While many victims and their families see the change as unjust, others see it as necessary.

Steve Perkins' wife Ann was also killed. He said he's glad about the change of venue, hoping it can speed the process along.

"I was actually kind of relieved," he said. "I will be at every one of them. It could be on the moon and I would be there."

Flo Rice was injured in the shooting. She too was glad the trial is moving.

"But I don't want there to ever be any question on this case. And I believe no matter where it is the outcome will be the same," Rice said.

It's not yet clear where the trial will end up. Something all the families seem to agree on: they're eager for the trial to commence, as they yearn for a sense of justice.

"She's going to get justice and he's going to do time. Because God wouldn't allow him to get away with this. It's just a little bump in the road," Sadie Fisher said.

Dimitrios Pagourtzis: What we know about the Santa Fe shooting suspect

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