Wesson Denied Change Of Venue

January 20, 2005 — The state supreme court denied a motion for a change of venue.

The decision means the case will most likely remain in Fresno and in the courtroom of a judge with a track record of handling high profile cases.

Before Judge R.I. Putnam was elected to the bench, he defended and prosecuted clients. Putnam has presided over some infamous murder cases.

But a former law school classmate says the Wesson case will definitely test his legal skills.

Just last week, Judge R.I. Putnam sentenced William Carr to 26 years in a mental hospital for killing a man with an ax.

He gave life sentences to three defendants convicted of murdering a Fowler teen and the same sentence to a man, who after more than 30 years, was convicted of killing Fresno bar owner, Ara Arax.

Back in the 70’s, defense attorney Ernest Kinney and Judge Putnam were classmates at the San Joaquin School of Law. Although Kinney has never tried a case in Putnam’s court, he says the judge takes his job very seriously, “I personally feel if he was a little more laid back, humorous, not so serious it would be easier for the trial to proceed.”

Judge Putnam has served as a deputy public defender and a prosecutor, and was presiding judge of the juvenile delinquency court, before his current position as superior court judge.

Last year, Putnam was assigned to the Marcus Wesson mass murder case.

Wesson is accused of killing nine of his children in March and also faces more than a dozen sex charges. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Kinney says Putnam’s previous trial experience will only enhance his handling of what’s expected to be one of the highest profile murder trials in Fresno County history, “I think when you’ve done some of these cases and they’ve proceeded and there hasn’t been big problems there’s been no reversals and big issues I can see some judges would say he was willing to take those let’s put him on this case.”

Jury selection for the Marcus Wesson mass murder trial is set for next Tuesday. They’re calling more than 2,000 potential jurors.

Testimony isn’t expected to begin until sometime in February.

Complete Wesson Murder Case Coverage

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ABC30.com, USA
Jan. 20, 2005

Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday January 20, 2005.
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