Judge rules for change of venue in Anniston cop killing trial - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Judge rules for change of venue in Anniston cop killing trial

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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

A judge ruled Friday that the trial of a man accused of killing an Anniston police officer can be moved outside of Calhoun County because of publicity.

Judge Brian Howell made the ruling after a survey on how much information county residents remembered about defendant Joshua Russell and victim Officer Justin Sollohub. There has been no announcement made on where the new venue might be.

Sollohub was shot to death during a footchase in August 2011. Russell was arrested after a brief standoff and charged with capital murder. If convicted he could be sentenced to death or serve life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Russell was scheduled for an IQ evaluation and status hearing in Calhoun County Friday.

Last month, a psychologist testified that Russell is competent to stand trial. He also testified that Russell intentionally scored low on an IQ test, hoping the court would consider him mentally retarded.

This is the first change of venue for a Calhoun County case since the Monsanto lawsuit of 2003. Sollohub was the first Anniston officer to be killed in the line of duty since 1954.

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