Murder trial to move from Grundy County

Jake Ryder
The Grundy Register

GRUNDY CENTER – A Grundy Center man accused of murder in the death of an Iowa state trooper won't stand trial in Grundy County following a Wednesday hearing in Grundy County District Court.

Prosecutors did not resist a request from Michael Thomas Lang's defense attorneys asking to move the trial out of the county - the defense argued that seating a Grundy County-based jury for the trial would be challenging.

No new location for the trial has been determined.

The prosecution did argue against a different motion brought forth by the defense.

Defense attorney Aaron Hawbaker also made a request to sever a charge of assault on a police officer to a separate trial, arguing the offense happened during a traffic stop prior to Lang's standoff at his Grundy Center home with officers and jurors hearing about the incident would be unfairly prejudiced about the events that followed.

Lang is accused of murder, attempted murder and assault on a peace officer in the death of Iowa State Patrol Sgt. Jim Smith in a standoff last April.

A court filing from the state cites that all three counts "are part of a 'common scheme or plan'."

"The defendant's motive for all three counts was to assault police officers," the filing continues. "All three counts occurred on the same day and within hours of each other. All three counts occurred in the temporal proximity to the defendant's residence."

No ruling was made on the motion to sever at Wednesday's hearing.

An April hearing is scheduled regarding another defense motion to throw out statements Lang made to police interviews while Lang was hospitalized following the standoff.



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