Prosecutors want the trial of a Clovis man charged with more than 100 counts of child molestation moved to Portales because of publicity, according to court records.
A motion filed in the 9th Judicial District Court on Thursday cites prejudicial news coverage and statements made by the defendant’s brother — who is the Tucumcari police chief and former Curry County sheriff — as examples why they believe a fair trial could not be held in Clovis.
Larry Hatcher, 48, faces 116 counts of child molestation. He is scheduled to stand trial for a second time in March. Jurors in October were unable to reach a verdict.
Defense attorney Randall Harris said Thursday he could not comment on the motion until he can discuss it with his client. He said he plans to file a response today.
The prosecutor’s motion cites seven reports published by the Clovis News Journal since Hatcher’s arrest in December 2007 as examples of prejudicial publicity. It also points to statements made by the defendant’s brother Roger Hatcher, who characterized the case as “he-said-she-said” and questioned probable cause for the arrest of his brother.
The defense has alleged prosecutorial misconduct through a motion to dismiss the case, suggesting employees of the district attorney’s office were attempting to see jurors’ notes after the mistrial.
The prosecution has denied the claim and said they were only trying to make contact with jurors to set up post-trial interviews.
District Judge Stephen Quinn will rule on the motions.