Barring a last minute delay, the trial of the Carthage father accused in the 2010 death of his eight-month-old son will begin on March 12 in Jasper County with a Jasper County jury.
Eddie Salazar Sr. faces one felony count of second-degree murder in the Feb. 4, 2010 death of his son, Eddie Salazar Jr., in their home at 227 Mound St. in Carthage.
On Monday, Jasper County Circuit Court Judge Gayle Crane denied several motions by Salazar Sr.’s defense attorney Larry Maples, including one for a change of venue.
Maples tried to convince Crane that pre-trial publicity in area newspapers, television and radio would taint the jury pool to the point where the two sides would not be able to seat an unbiased jury.
He called Editor Carol Stark and New Media Editor Dave Wood of The Joplin Globe to testify in Monday’s hearing, and subpoenaed issues of The Carthage Press and reports from television and radio stations and Internet bloggers to try to make his case.
He called reports in The Press that the search cost Carthage $10,000 in overtime and editorials in The Globe about “community outrage,” prejudicial to Salazar Sr.’s right to a fair trial.
Assistant Prosecutor Norman Rouse refuted that claim, saying all murder trials come with publicity and asking why the defense was asking for a change of venue prior what Rouse said was the beginning of a trial that had been delayed six times.
Crane ruled against the motion for a venue change.
Crane also denied defense motions to individually question each juror as to the extent of their knowledge of the case and to sequester the jury.
Questioning to choose a 12-member jury is slated to begin Monday morning, March 12.
At the time of Eddie Salazar Jr.’s death’ police said Eddie Sr. called police and said two masked men had broken into their home, beaten him and taken the baby.
A massive search was launched, including law officers from Carthage, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and surrounding communities, firefighters, Carthage public works employees, volunteers from the Missouri Southern State University Police Academy and others.
Police at the time said Salazar named one of the men who he said beat him, but Police Chief Greg Dagnan said officers determined that person had nothing to do with the crime. Police said Salazar then admitted he had lied about the attack in a videotaped confession.
Page 2 of 2 - Searchers found the baby’s body in the Spring River east of Carthage on Feb. 6, 2010.
An autopsy revealed the baby died from blunt force trauma to the head.
Salazar has pleaded not guilty to the charge of second-degree murder.
He is currently serving a sentence for a previous robbery conviction and is being held by the Missouri Department of Corrections.