The trial for the Columbia man accused of punishing his stepson by placing him in a scalding shower has been moved from Boone County to the Callaway County Courthouse in Fulton. The trial is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. today.
Otis McKinney is charged with assault in the first degree, child abuse and causing serious emotional injury. He is also charged with endangering the welfare of a child in a ritual or ceremony and endangerment of a child in the first degree. The “ritual or ceremony” charge was brought against McKinney because of allegations that the scalding shower was a regular punishment.
In a motion for a change of venue, counsel for McKinney said the jury pool in Boone County was prejudiced against McKinney. Counsel said in the motion that a front-page article in the Columbia Tribune about the guilty verdict that McKinney’s wife, Erma McKinney, received Thursday could influence jurors. Because of the proximity of the article’s publication and the trial date, the jury would be unable to impartially judge McKinney’s innocence or guilt based solely on the evidence presented, according to the motion by the defense.
In the motion, the defense noted that the evidence presented in Erma McKinney’s trial suggested that she and Otis McKinney acted together. Because the Tribune article detailed the evidence presented in Erma McKinney’s trial, the defense argued that there was a polluted jury pool in Boone County.
The defense also asked the court to determine each juror’s impartiality individually.