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Venue motion heard in Scott murder case

By Staff
Melissa Cason
Defense attorneys for a Russellville woman accused of setting the fire that killed her six year-old son are trying to have her capital murder case moved outside the county.
Franklin County Circuit Court Judge Terry Dempsey listened to expert testimony Monday about the Christie Scott murder case.
Scott is accused of setting fire to her family's Signore Drive home last August. Her son, Mason Scott, died in the blaze.
Dempsey heard testimony from University of Alabama Psychology Professor Stanley Brodsky during the motion hearing Monday afternoon.
Brodsky was hired by defense attorney Robert Tuten to conduct a survey to learn how many potential jurors in the county are familiar with the Scott case.
Brodsky said he developed questions for the survey using material from newspapers and other media. The questions were asked to 252 people throughout Franklin County by an independent polling agency.
"Everyone who has been exposed [to media] has been exposed to this material [used to formulate questions]," Brodsky said.
Brodsky testified that a very high percentage of individuals polled had heard about the case.
"Eighty percent of the people polled knew about the case," he said in court. "People in Franklin County know about this case."
While the defense brought in information that most people in the county are familiar with the case, Brodsky said he could not say whether or not Scott would get a fair trial inside the county.
Dempsey said he would have a ruling on the change of venue by May 22.
Should the case not be moved, Franklin County District Attorney Joey Rushing said he is ready for trial on June 8.
"If the trial is not moved, we will be ready to go in June," Rushing said. "But, if the trial should be moved, it could be another four to five months before the trial would start."
If Dempsey decides to move the trial, the Alabama Office of Courts will be contacted and they would furnish a list of potential venues where the trial can be held.
Scott, 32, of Russellville, has been in police custody since her indictment of three alternating counts of capital murder in September.