WAUSEON – The Archbold man accused of killing a former Wauseon resident who tried to intervene in his domestic dispute wants his pending trial moved out of Fulton County.
Chris Dreyer, the attorney for Romualdo Cordoba Jr., filed a motion for change of venue with memorandum July 10 in Fulton County Common Pleas Court. In the three-page statement Dreyer argues that a fair trial can’t be held locally, since media and social network coverage of the fatal shooting of Joshua McJilton “has grown exponentially.”
The motion from Dreyer states that “(D)ue to the extreme amount of publicity afforded…it will be impossible for this defendant to obtain a fair and impartial trial within Fulton County.”
The motion notes that Cordoba’s case has been reported by all forms of regional media and widely mentioned on social media platforms. The latter includes posts on the Facebook pages of the Wauseon Police Department and Fulton County.
Those entities were ordered by the court to provide all posts, comments, likes, and shares from their Facebook pages regarding the shooting.
Cordoba, 38, was arrested June 15 by the U.S. Marshal Fugitive Service Task Force in a casino parking lot in Eagle Pass, Texas, located at the Mexican border. He fled northwest Ohio following McJilton’s shooting in a Wauseon public parking lot April 25.
McJilton was transported to the Fulton County Health Center, where he died from his injuries.
The incident was captured on security video at DB Downtown Billiards.
A grand jury indicted Cordoba on one count of domestic violence, a fourth-degree misdemeanor, and one count of murder with a firearm specification, a felony.
He was extradited to Wauseon from the Maverick County Detention Center in Texas. He was denied bail during his arraignment in Fulton County Common Pleas Court, and remains in custody at the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio in Stryker.
Dreyer said in the motion Cordoba has requested a trial somewhere out of county, where the jury won’t be tainted by the ongoing publicity of his case.
He did not return calls for comment.
According to Ohio’s Criminal Rule 18B, “The court can transfer an action to any court having jurisdiction of the subject matter outside the county in which trial would otherwise be held when it appears that a fair and impartial trial cannot be held in a court in which the action is pending.”
Common Pleas Court Judge James E. Barber said a hearing is required on a change of venue before he can make a determination. He said Dreyer and County Prosecutor Scott Haselman could strike a deal that would render his participation in a decision unnecessary.
“There are a lot of things that can happen here,” Judge Barber said.
Haselman declined to comment on the case. Cordoba is scheduled for a pretrial hearing Aug. 25.
David J. Coehrs can be reached at 419-335-2010.