Child scalding trial is moved to Callaway County

A Columbia man accused of assault and child abuse faces trial starting today.
Wednesday, May 31, 2006 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 6:52 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

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.

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