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The Journal Gazette

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Sunday, February 11, 2018 1:00 am

Murder trial stays in county, judge decides

MATTHEW LEBLANC | The Journal Gazette

An Allen Superior Court judge rejected a request by a man accused of murder to move his trial or bring in jurors from another county.

Victor Rivera, 21, is charged with shooting to death Jacob Walerko inside the Meijer gas station on Lima Road on Thanksgiving.

His lawyer asked Judge John Surbeck in January to move the trial or bring in jurors from outside Allen County, arguing local residents angry over the killing could make it onto the jury and make Rivera's trial unfair. The motion for change of venue also cited media coverage of the case.

Surbeck denied the request Friday.

Court documents say Rivera shot clerk Walerko, 25, in the head before stealing a carton of cigarettes and running from the store. He is charged with murder, felony murder and robbery resulting in serious bodily injury.

Felony murder is one committed in the act of another felony, such as robbery.

Rivera's trial is set to begin April 16.

mleblanc@jg.net