Attorneys Seek New Venue for McNeil Trial

Clint Scott McNeil made an appearance in court Friday. Earlier this year he was arrested and charged with the murder of 17-year-old Cedric Chambliss of Meridian.

Chambliss was found shot to death in a vehicle near a wooded area in January 2005, near where McNeil's parents' lived.

The 26-year-old defendant appeared in court to ask for a change of venue for his trial.

The defense cited "extraordinary pretrial publicity" as a reason for the request, as well as possible violence because of it. But Clarke County Sheriff Todd Kemp testified that so far no threats have been made against McNeil. He says McNeil is being housed in the Jasper County jail for precautionary reasons only.

Attorneys for McNeil also asked for the armed robbery charge against him to be dropped. Judge Robert Bailey denied that request.

McNeil's older brother, 28-year-old Brad McNeil, and his girlfriend 35-year-old Arlene Fuller-Johnson, are charged with accessory after the fact of capital murder. If found guilty, both could face up to five years in prison. Clinton McNeil faces life in prison without parole or the death penalty.

All three of the defendants are set to go to trial Feb. 27 in Clarke County. The judge is expected to rule on the request for a change of venue next week.

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