Judge denies change of venue for Powhatan beating suspect

Posted at 12:15 PM, Sep 24, 2012
and last updated 2012-09-24 13:19:39-04

POWHATAN COUNTY, Va (WTVR) - A Powhatan judge denied a change of venue request for the man accused of  kidnapping, robbing and assaulting a disabled woman. James Lee Wolfe, Sr. is also accused of setting the woman's home on fire.

Wolfe's attorney argued Wolfe could not receive a fair trial in Powhatan due to publicity surrounding the case. It took the judge less than five minutes to deny the request.

Wolfe, Sr. was handcuffed and dressed in a green jail suit, as he and his lawyer Mark Englisby appeared before the judge.

Wolfe is accused of kicking in the door of teacher Mary Anderson's home in January. Once inside, investigators said, Wolfe beat Anderson, stole $6 from her and then forced her to withdraw $400 at a nearby ATM.

Following the attack, investigators said Anderson was dumped on the side of Midlothian Turnpike with head injuries, a broken arm and cuts and bruises.

The prosecution was pleased judge decided to keep the trial in Powhatan.

"Well there is a presumption that an individual can receive a fair trial in the community where the crime was committed," said Powhatan County Commonwealth's Attorney Robert Beasley.  "This crime was committed in Powhatan and the defendant should stand trial in Powhatan."

Englisby said he does not know if he will appeal the judge's decision. 

A trial is set for October 9.