Stabbing suspect requests change of venue

Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, July 17, 2018

A Mason City man charged with stabbing another man in Northwood in June is requesting a change of venue for his jury trial.

Trapp Leroy Trotter Jr. faces charges of attempted murder, first-degree burglary and fourth-degree criminal mischief involving a hate crime in the alleged stabbing of 25-year-old Andrew Nodtvedt of Manly.

Trapp Trotter Jr.

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In a motion for the change of venue filed on Monday, Trotter’s public defender, Letitia Turner, said there has been extensive media coverage and publicity surrounding the case, the level of charges and possible consequences Trotter faces if convicted.

“As a result of the continuing media coverage, gossip and rumor among the residents of Worth County concerning the outcome of this case, Mr. Trotter cannot receive a fair trial from an impartial jury in Worth County,” Turner wrote.

Worth County Attorney Jeffrey Greve filed a resistance to the motion on Tuesday, referring to an Iowa Supreme Court case in 1989.

“Exposure to news accounts does not by itself create a substantial likelihood of prejudice in the minds of prospective jurors,” the Supreme Court stated in the case. “The crucial determination is whether, as a result of pretrial publicity or for other reasons, a substantial number of prospective jurors hold such fixed opinions on the merit of the case that they cannot impartially judge the issues to be determined at trial.”

Greve said he thinks Trotter’s rights can be protected through the jury selection process and that a “fair and impartial jury” can be selected in Worth County.

Nodtvedt received multiple stab and slash wounds to his torso during the incident, according to authorities.

Nodtvedt reportedly told authorities he was hanging out with another man, identified as Andre Hill, when “some guy came and started fighting with him because he didn’t like that he was white,” the court report states.

Nodtvedt stated the man pushed him into his car and chased him into Hill’s apartment. He later stated the man chased him out of the apartment down the street, yelling, “You’re going to die tonight, white boy.”

Trotter’s Facebook page had multiple pictures of him wearing identical jewelry to what was found at the crime scene.

Trotter’s trial is slated to begin Aug. 1.