Civil suit against shooter’s parents will not be heard in Hamilton County: Whistlers, Moores agree to change of venue for highly publicized case

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A case against the parents of the Noblesville West Middle School shooter has been moved out of Hamilton County.

Hamilton County Superior Court 1 Judge Mike Casati last month granted a motion from Kevin and Sarah Moore for a change of venue, which set the course to move a jury trial in which they are defendants out of the Hamilton County court system.

The Moores are the parents of David Moore, who shot teacher Jason Seaman three times and fellow student Ella Whistler seven times at NWMS May 25, 2018. Whistler and her parents, Cory and Julia Whistler, filed a civil tort against the Moores in November 2018, citing that they should have been aware of David’s mental health and that his access to weapons inside the family’s home was not restricted.

On March 18, a stipulation was filed stating that both the Moores and Whistlers agreed on a new venue for the jury trial – Marion County Superior Court No. 2. As of press time, Judge Casati had not filed any response or order.

In their request, the Moores asked for the location of the jury trial to be transferred out of Hamilton County court due to the publicity the case was receiving and fear of not receiving a fair trial. Moving the trial ensures the jury will be made up of residents solely outside of Hamilton County.

According to Indiana’s Trial Rule 76, “the motion shall be granted only upon a showing…that the party seeking the change will be unlikely to receive a fair trial on account of local prejudice or bias regarding a party or the claim or defense presented by a party.”

In their motion, the Moores said they “respectfully contend that it is unlikely they will receive a fair trial in Hamilton County…The local community will all have knowledge, experience and preconceptions of the events prior to a trial and a desired outcome,” according to court documents. “Additionally, the classroom where the events underlying this case had approximately 28 other students in it when these events occurred. The school had an additional student enrollment of over 1,300 students, including additional staff. Each of these individuals likely have family and friends. Hence, a large population of individuals exists who have a basic relationship to the school where the events occurred.”

The final part of the motion referenced local newspaper reports and social media posts that “provide evidence that the Moores are unlikely to receive a fair trial,” according to court documents, in which the Moores attached specific articles and social media posts assuming their guilt in neglect.

As of press time, a date for the jury trial has not yet been set.

This story will be updated.

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