Fravel change of venue granted

According to documents filed Wednesday, June 12, by the State of Minnesota, Adam Fravel has been granted a change of venue for his pending murder trial in the March 2023 death of his on-and-off girlfriend and mother of their two young children, Madeline Kingsbury.

Kingsbury, who resided in Winona, Minn., with Fravel, disappeared March 31, 2023, and numerous search parties ensued over the next several months until her body was discovered in a culvert near Mabel, Minn., along Highway 43 on June 7, 2023. Fravel was arrested June 8, 2023, and charged with two counts of second-degree murder. In October 2023, a grand jury returned an indictment of first-degree murder with premeditation, based on a past pattern of abuse, in addition to the existing two counts of second-degree murder.

During the hearing held March 19 and 20, Fravel’s attorney Zachary Bauer argued that a fair and impartial trial could not be held in Winona County due to overwhelming prejudicial publicity. Bauer specifically called attention to Rochester’s KTTC television station, which shared 59 separate news reports, videos and stories between April 1, 2023, and Dec. 14, 2023. More recently, CBS TV’s show 48 Hours aired nationally an episode covering Kingsbury’s disappearance and murder.

The defense also shared results from a public opinion survey completed by a SMG research company, which reported calling the manager of the company to testify. The manager said that, according to the survey, 100 people from Winona County and city were contacted via cell and landline phones in late February and early March. They were specifically  and asked if they had read, seen or heard about Kingsbury, with 89 of 100 answering yes,  and 65 of 89 answering they felt Fravel was guilty of Kingsbury’s death. The defense argued that this number, 75 percent of the people surveyed, showed that “there is an increased level of awareness of this case, and a higher degree of options of who did it.”

At that same hearing, Fravel’s attorneys also argued to have Fravel’s April 2, 2023, statement to law enforcement suppressed, saying the statement “was obtained in violation of [Fravel’s] Miranda rights.” Fravel’s defense also moved to have dismissed Fravel’s charge of First-Degree Murder-Premeditation, citing the evidence for premeditation was circumstantial and portions of evidence hearsay. Ultimately the court denied both the motions.

According to the order granting the change of venue, both the state and defense attorneys agreed that there was an influx of publicity in the Winona County area. Additionally, the court determined that a fair and impartial trial cannot be conducted in the county where the case is pending, and a change of venue is warranted “considering the extensive pretrial publicity and the substantial involvement of the Winona community in this case.”

The new venue has yet to be determined.

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