Trial Venue Request Denied for Accused Murderer Tiffanie Pierce
On Friday, Missoula District Court Judge James Wheelis issued a ruling regarding a request by accused double murderer Tiffanie Rae Pierce to move her trial out of Missoula.
Deputy Missoula County Attorney Jennifer Clark explained the judge’s decision.
“We had a hearing on Friday regarding the defendant’s motion to change the venue of the trial from Missoula to another location,” said Clark. “The defendant was arguing that it would be impossible to find an impartial jury in Missoula. The Judge held that the media coverage that surrounds this case would occur in any location where the trial may be held, so he wants to attempt to find a jury in Missoula. If that’s not possible, then he will reconsider the defendant’s motion to move the trial.”
Clark said the court plans to call in a much higher number of individuals for the jury pool, much as Judge Ed McLean did for the Markus Kaarma trial.
“For this case, the court is calling in 400 jurors,” she said. “That’s a larger number of jurors than we usually get, as in most cases, we’ll usually call in from 80 to 100. In this case ands with the supplemental jury questionnaires we anticipate that jury selection may last a day, or perhaps two days. As we disc used in our hearing, Mr. (Brian) Smith and I were both on the Markus Kaarma trial where we also used supplemental jury questionnaires, and were able to streamline the jury selection process.”
Pierce is charged in the 2017 killings of 24 year-old Jackson Wiles and 15 year-old Marilyn Pickett. Police have said Pierce and Augustus Standingrock stabbed the victims and submerged their bodies in plastic tubs of chemicals. Standingrock pleaded guilty in December. Prosecutors have said he agreed to testify against Pierce.