DARLINGTON — The Armin Wand III intentional homicide trial will be heard by a jury from outside Lafayette County, but it will be conducted in the Lafayette County Courthouse.
Green County Circuit Judge Thomas Vale denied a motion Thursday morning from Wand’s defense attorney, Guy Taylor, to move the trial to the Green County Courthouse in Monroe.
Taylor’s motion cited issues of security, jury facilities, and a media room in the Green County Courthouse.
The state’s filing opposing the motion said “The citizens of this county, who are paying for the costs of the trial, are entitled to have the trial in the county.”
Wand, 32, Argyle, faces four counts of party to first-degree intentional homicide, three counts of party to attempted first-degree intentional homicide, and one count of arson in connection with the Sept. 7 Argyle house fire that killed his three sons.
Wand and his brother, Jeremy, 18, face charges for the death of Armin Wand’s three sons — Allen, 7, Jeffrey, 5, and Joseph, 3 — as well as injuries to Armin Wand’s wife, Sharon, and daughter, Jessica, 2.
Another Taylor motion, to dismiss the fourth count of first-degree intentional homicide for the death of the Wands’ unborn baby, was withdrawn.
The next hearing is scheduled for Jan. 17, after the hearing scheduled for Thursday was canceled. The hearing will consider motions to suppress as evidence the three statements Armin Wand made to police.
“Our focus is on the voluntariness under the totality of the circumstances,” said Taylor.
The hearing also will consider a motion to reconsider a ruling by the case’s original judge, Lafayette County Circuit Judge William Johnston, to allow Scott Thompson, a Monroe attorney the Wands hired to write a will for them, to waive Sharon Wand’s attorney–client privilege and speak to authorities about conversations the Wands had with him.
Another hearing Feb. 13 at 1:30 p.m. will consider motions covering evidence for Wand’s trial.
Vale upheld Taylor’s motion in December for a jury outside Lafayette County. Potential jurors in that unnamed county will be notified in letters sent Jan. 11.
Jury selection will be held Feb. 22, and the first day of the trial is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 23.
“The court concludes that the publicity has been inflammatory and is likely to adversely affect the public’s opinion in Lafayette County,” Vale wrote in the jury motion. “There are no strangers in a county with a population as small as Lafayette County.”
Taylor’s motion cited publicity from the Darlington Republican Journal, the Monroe Times, the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison, and Madison’s WISC-TV, WMTV and WKOW-TV.
Vale also upheld a motion to have Wand wear street clothes without visible restraints for jury selection. Wand has been wearing an orange jail jumpsuit, restraints and a bulletproof vest during court hearings.
A status conference for Jeremy Wand is scheduled for Feb. 20 at 1:30 p.m.
The Wands face life sentences on the intentional homicide charges, 60 years in prison on the attempted intentional homicide charges, and 40 years in prison on the arson charge.