State

Allen loses appeal of Sacramento trial venue

A state appeals court on Friday denied accused cop killer Columbus Allen Jr. II's bid to keep his trial out of Sacramento County.

Allen is due to face charges Jan. 12 in Sacramento County Superior Court of murdering California Highway Patrol officer Earl Scott during a traffic stop on Highway 99 near Salida in February 2006.

Allen's attorney, John Grele, wanted to have the trial elsewhere and argued that his top choices — San Francisco and Marin counties — deserved greater consideration.

The 5th District Court of Appeal in Fresno disagreed. It issued a notice Friday dismissing Grele's request to reconsider the location.

Allen's legal proceedings so far have advanced through Stanislaus County Superior Court. Judge Hurl Johnson agreed to move the trial from Modesto to ensure Allen would get a fair hearing from an unbiased jury.

He selected Sacramento over Contra Costa and Santa Clara counties. That decision played well with the prosecution, which favored Sacramento because of its proximity to witnesses in Stanislaus County.

Grele said he might appeal today's decision to the state Supreme Court.

"We're disappointed the court didn't choose to hear the case," he said.

Bee Assistant City Editor Adam Ashton can be reached at aashton@modbee.com or 578-2366.

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