Attorneys want deadly hit-and-run trial moved from Richmond

Posted at 6:46 PM, Oct 12, 2012
and last updated 2012-10-12 21:11:53-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - The hit-and-run crash that claimed the life of 24-year-old Lanie Kruszewski has been generating a lot of press coverage since late July.

That is why defense attorneys for the man behind the wheel, Elias Webb, asked Judge Margaret Spencer to move the trial out of Richmond.

The family of a cyclist killed in a hit-and-run crash last summer was back in the John Marshall Courthouse Friday.

Inside loved ones listened as defense attorneys for Elias Webb argue for a change of venue.

The defense team believes the court cannot sit an impartial jury. Defense attorney Craig Cooley presented articles, transcripts and videos from media outlets, including WTVR.

The defense argues the sheer volume of publicity surrounding the case will taint a jury pool.

On the night of July 29, Elias Webb, struck and killed 24 year-old Lanie Kruszewski on River Road in Richmond and fled in his 2004 Dodge Durango.

A few days later Webb turned himself in and said he thought he had hit a deer.

At the spot of the crash a temporary memorial consisting of a bike, flowers and photos still stands. Webb's attorneys say the so-called "Ghost Bike" is seen by 30,000 drivers a day, which could taint potential jurors.

The Commonwealth's Attorneys office says the mere existence of publicity is not enough of a reason to move the trial.

In the end, Judge Margaret Spencer rebuffed the defense attorneys attempts to move their client's trial to another jurisdiction. Spencer is adamant that an impartial jury can be found.

The families of Webb and Kruszewski refused to speak to the media.

A new trial date was set for Feb. 13, 2013 at John Marshall Courthouse in Richmond.