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Pretrial Publicity May Trigger Move in Paramedic s Trial

CLINTON, Ky.-- Three people charged with assaulting a former ambulance worker will probably be tried in another county because of pretrial publicity, District Judge Hunter Whitesell II said.

Phillip Smith, Andy Bodkin and Lanetta Bodkin were to have been tried by a jury Wednesday, but the trial was delayed until Jan. 23, defense attorney Jeremy Ian Smith said.

They are charged with going to the Clinton-Hickman County Ambulance Service on May 28 and fighting with paramedic John Snow. They accused Snow of taking photos of Phillip Smith s son Josh, 16, just after he died in a car wreck May 20 and posting them online.

Snow, who has admitted photographing victims injuries and posting them on the Internet, was fired from the ambulance service May 29. He denied taking photos of Josh Smith and said that was a false rumor that someone told the Smiths.

The judge also decided that the jury pool was not large enough.

Because this has received so much publicity, there are probably not enough jurors out there to seat a jury, Whitesell said.

Jurors could be eliminated because they know people involved in the case or have already formed opinions, among other reasons.

Whitesell denied a motion filed by County Attorney Sue Ellen Morris which argued that jurors should not hear information about Snow s alleged posting of victims photos on the Internet, Jeremy Ian Smith said.

He said he believed the judge s decision was appropriate because the altercation was caused by his clients belief that Snow had photographed Josh Smith.

Smith said he requested that his clients charges be diverted to assault under extreme emotional disturbance. The diversion means that the charges would be dismissed in a year, under the condition that they avoid Snow and commit no other crimes.

According to Smith, Snow said he would accept the diversion only if Phillip Smith and the Bodkins paid his medical bill for minor injuries related to the altercation and wrote him a letter of apology. Smith said his clients did not accept that agreement.

Morris said she did not want to comment on ongoing litigation.

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