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Wands first hearing before new judge today
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DARLINGTON — The new judge in the Armin and Jeremy Wand murder trial will preside over the latest hearing in the case today.

Green County Circuit Judge Thomas J. Vale will preside over the arraignment of the Wands on the charge of being a party to first-degree intentional homicide of an unborn child in Lafayette County Circuit Court today at 2:30 p.m.

Vale was selected to replace Lafayette County Circuit Judge William Johnston after a motion for substitution of judge by the Wands’ attorneys.

The scheduling conference on the Wands’ remaining charges will be filed today.

Armin and Jeremy Wand face three other charges of party to first-degree intentional homicide charges in connection with the deaths of Armin Wand’s sons — Allen, 7, Jeffrey, 5, and Joseph, 3 — in the Sept. 7 fire.

Both Wands also face two counts of party to attempted first-degree intentional homicide and one count of party to arson for the fire and injuries to Armin Wand’s wife, Sharon, and daughter, Jessica, 2. Armin Wand faces an additional count of party to attempted first-degree intentional homicide.

Vale also is scheduled to hear motions for a change of venue in the case, which could either involve moving the trial or bringing in a jury from outside the area.

The motion by Armin Wand’s attorney, Guy Taylor, claimed that “pretrial publicity in the entire Madison area media market has been so intense, inflammatory and unremitting that a fair and impartial jury may not be had in Lafayette County or in the entire media market.”

The motion cited stories about the Wands’ family background, “prayer vigils for the victims and details on the condition of Sharon Wand.” The motion included online and print copies of stories from the Darlington Republican Journal, the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison, and WISC-TV and WKOW-TV in Madison.

Taylor also filed a motion to separate the two cases because of statements Jeremy Wand made about his brother in the criminal complaint.

Armin and Jeremy Wand are in the Lafayette County Jail after bail was set at $1.4 million and $1.2 million, respectively. They face life sentences on the intentional homicide charges, 60 years in prison on the attempted homicide charges, and 40 years in prison and a $10,000 fine on the arson charges if convicted.