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The Journal Gazette

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Wednesday, February 14, 2018 1:00 am

Courts

Accused mother fears jury bias

MATTHEW LEBLANC | The Journal Gazette

A woman charged with two counts of neglect in the death of her son in November wants a judge to move her trial from Allen County or bring in jurors from another county.

Amber V. Garrett, 26, filed a motion for change of venue, citing coverage of the case by news outlets and on social media. Court documents say the coverage and actions by activists to write messages such as “charge Amber with murder” in chalk outside the Allen County Courthouse could bias potential jurors.

“I reasonably anticipate that the individuals undertaking these efforts to stir public bias will continue to do so in the future and will attempt to expose any prospective jurors summoned for jury duty in this cause to bias,” the motion says.

Her son, Malakai, 2, died after being beaten, doctors told investigators. Mitchell Vanryn, 27, is charged with murder in the case.

It is not clear when Allen Superior Court Judge Fran Gull might rule on the request.

Shooter requests home detention

A New Haven man sentenced last week to three years in prison for shooting at a mobile home, endangering a man's life, wants to spend that time with his ex-wife.

Attorneys for Derek A. Saylor, 40, and prosecutors agreed last week to allow him to serve the time in home detention, according to court documents. But, the documents say, the apartment complex where he lived does not allow home detention.

He has agreed to move in with his ex-wife in New Haven. A petition filed Monday by defense attorney Donald Swanson asks an Allen Superior Court judge to approve the living arrangement.

Saylor pleaded guilty in January to a charge of criminal recklessness. Prosecutors dropped three other criminal recklessness charges.

Murder trial set in October slaying

A judge Tuesday set an April 10 trial date for a Fort Wayne man accused of killing Brian Lowe Jr. in October.

Deedee W. Barnett, 38, is charged with murder. Court documents say Lowe, 31, was shot in the head as he sat with a friend in a car in the 1000 block of Lake Avenue on Oct. 30.

Barnett said he shot Lowe because “he caused chaos in the neighborhood and yelled at people,” according to a probable cause affidavit.

mleblanc@jg.net