North Dakota man charged in police shootings wants new jury

Published: Oct. 10, 2021 at 2:28 PM CDT
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MILWAUKEE (AP) — Attorneys for a North Dakota man accused of wounding two Wisconsin police officers while he was on the run from an attempted murder charge in his home state are petitioning for a jury pool from a different county.

Nathanael Benton, 24, of Fargo, has pleaded not guilty in the shootings of two Delafield police officers while fleeing a hit-and-run incident in November 2020. The officers suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the shootings that occurred in Waukesha County, about 27 miles (43 kilometers) west of Milwaukee.

Benton’s lawyers said in a petition that local news coverage and social media surrounding police shootings has created too much prejudice among Waukesha County residents and there is a “growing public bias” about the case. The defense attorneys say Waukesha County Circuit Judge Paul Bugenhagen Jr. made a mistake by denying the original petition seeking a change of venue, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

Benton, a registered sex offender, is charged with attempted murder in North Dakota for the November 2020 shooting of a man in Fargo. The victim, who is recovering after being shot in the head, said the two men barely knew each other and the incident happened after an argument.

Benton faces more than 60 years in prison for the Wisconsin charges. His trial is scheduled for Dec. 6.

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