Fravel’s defense seeks change of venue

By Denise Lana,

Attorneys for Adam Fravel, accused of murder in the March 31, 2023 disappearance and killing of Madeline Kingsbury, filed a motion Friday, Jan. 19, seeking dismissal of first-degree premeditated murder charges.  Additionally, the defense filed a motion for change of venue, asking the trial be moved from Winona County, citing “a fair and impartial trial cannot be had in Winona County … due to the extensive media coverage” by local television news teams and newspapers, as well as public support exhibited by Winona County Sheriff’s Office, local residents and numerous participants from surrounding counties during the search for Kingsbury. The defense also filed a motion to dismiss the State’s intent to seek an aggravated upward departure against Fravel, citing that this is not based on whether Kingsbury was treated with particular cruelty but rather upon the trauma and anguish suffered by the family and friends of Kingsbury.  It was noted that the suffering of individuals other than the victim do not justify a crime as more or less serious; if victim with no family was killed, that would be a lesser offense because there was no-one to mourn or suffer.  The motion concludes that the “sentence should be reasonably related to the conduct of the convicted person” (Fravel) and “extreme trauma and anguish of third parties that were not present to the alleged offense” is not a proper basis for an aggravated upward departure. 

The motion says that although the State alleges that Kingsbury was treated with particular cruelty, there is no proper basis for an aggravated sentence.  In the defense’s motion, it states that although the State hypothesizes Kingsbury could have been killed in the her bedroom where she had an expectation of privacy, there has been no evidence presented by the State that would support that the offense occurred in Kingsbury’s bedroom.  

The plaintiffs in the murder trial filed a motion in limine, requesting the Court prevent Fravel from testifying or seeking to admit into evidence “any testimony, photographs, or physical evidence referencing any controlled substances or prescribed medications by Kingsbury”.  Also requested to be prohibited is any evidence, testimony, recordings, or written summaries made by Kingsbury during any professional therapy or counseling sessions.  

An aggravated upward departure is when a judge can, due to extreme circumstances of the case, increase the sentence length of a convicted person  (examples include excess cruelty, a prior history of crimes, or crimes inflicted upon victims who are particularly vulnerable due to age or mental capacity).   

A motion in limine is when evidence is excluded due to being irrelevant, unreliable, or more prejudicial than probative.  

Fravel will appear in Winona County Court March 19, at which time the court will discuss and rule on the notices filed.  

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