GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - The trial of a St. Joseph County couple charged in the death oftheir then-16-year-old daughter -- who was found chained to a bedafter a house fire -- will move to another county, a judge ruledWednesday.
Calista Springer, 16, died in the February 2008 fire at thefamily's Centreville-area home. Anthony and Marsha Springer facecharges of murder, first-degree child abuse and torture.
A change of venue is needed because, after interviewing 125potential jurors in two days, St. Joseph County Circuit Judge PaulStutesman was unable to seat a jury, he told 24 Hour News 8.
Too many would-be jurors answered that they were aware of thecase and they would be unable to render an unbiased and fairdecision, Stutesman said. The judge had denied an earlierchange-of-venue motion.
The State Court Administrative Office, which the judge said hadbeen contacted, will decide where to assign the case. Stutesman,who said this was the first change of venue he had seen in fouryears on the bench and 18 years of trial experience, said he couldnot speculate on how long a decision may take.
When firefighters first arrived at the home on Feb. 27, 2008,Marsha Springer was in the front yard of the home yelling that herdaughter still was inside. The girl's body was found chained to anupstairs bed.
Her father claimed Calista had special needs and the restraintswere necessary to keep her from leaving the house at night.
Target 8 uncovered that Child Protective Services workersreceived four complaints within a few days in 2004 about allegedabuse of Calista, who was 12 at the time. One of those complaintsincluded allegations of being chained to the bed.
Some of those CPS workers allegedly thought that action had beenOK'd by another agency and probably was in the best interest ofCalista, who was known to roam at night and get into trouble.
Bethany Murk, 48, was arrested Thursday following a drug bust in Van Buren County.
Flags were lowered to half-staff across South Africa and people in black townships, in upscale mostly white suburbs and in the country's vast rural grasslands commemorated Nelson Mandela with song, tears and prayers on Friday while …
The victim driver could face charges, and alcohol is believed to be a factor in the crash, police said.