Prosecution argues against change-of-venue in CHP killing case

A prosecutor's expert Friday refuted the defense's argument that the trial of a Stockton man accused of killing a California Highway Patrol officer should be moved out of Modesto.

Ebbe Ebbesen, a psychology professor at the University of California at San Diego, has testified dozens of times against venue-change motions, including in Modesto’s notorious Scott Peterson case.

Stanislaus County Chief Deputy District Attorney Alan Cassidy called Ebbesen to testify Friday during a hearing on a change of venue motion brought by John R. Grele, the lawyer for Columbus Allen Jr. II.

Ebbesen said research has shown that studies showing that pre-trial publicity taints the jury pool are flawed.

Allen, 33, of Stockton is suspected of killing Scott at about 4:40 a.m. on Feb. 17, 2006. The slain officer was found at the edge of northbound Highway 99, just south of Hammett Road near Salida, holding registration papers for a Nissan Maxima registered to Allen’s wife, Bertera.

For more on the story, read Saturday's Bee.