A defense attorney for a teen charged in the assault of a former Blue Earth Area football teammate wants to have his trial moved to another county.
Chris Ritts of Minneapolis says he filed a motion on Wednesday seeking a change of venue for 19-year-old Wyatt Eugene Tungland of Frost.
“He is not going to get a fair and impartial trial,” says Ritts. “The prosecutor (LaMar Piper) has distorted the facts in the case.”
A four-day jury trial has been scheduled for April 23, 24, 25 and 26 in Faribault County District Court in Blue Earth.
Tungland has pleaded not guilty to third-degree assault, aiding and abetting third-degree assault and furnishing alcohol to persons under the age of 21.
Ritts says Piper has displayed “prosecutorial misconduct” by his unprofessional conduct and behavior.
Media news stories and comments on social media, says Ritts, played a factor in deciding to seek a new location for the trial.
Tungland and three other teen boys were charged in November 2017 in the beating of a football teammate that left him unconscious.
Three of the cases were settled with plea agreements, says Ritts, because Piper bullied the defendants by threatening them with scare tactics.
Ritts says the prosecutor shouldn’t have been surprised with a woman’s testimony that Tungland couldn’t have been involved in the assault.
“I made the prosecutor aware of the alibi,” he says. “He never got off his tail and did anything. He didn’t investigate it.”
Allison Ann Mastin faces two felony counts for her statements made under oath during a contested omnibus hearing for Tungland in July. She testified that he and her daughter were at her house during the time the assault occurred.
A court date has been set for March 1 in Faribault County District Court before Judge Michael Trushenski to hear Ritts’ motion to move the trial.