HomeTop StoriesJudge grants request to move trial in Madeline Kingsbury case

Judge grants request to move trial in Madeline Kingsbury case

June 12—WINONA, Minn.—A Winona County District Court judge has granted a change of venue request in the murder trial of Madeline Kingsbury.

Adam Fravel, 30, is accused of killing Kingsbury, a Winona mother of two. His trial will be moved out of Winona County, Nancy L. Buytendorp ordered in a written ruling on Wednesday, June 12, 2024.

Zachary Bauer, an attorney representing Fravel, argued in writing and at an April 30 hearing that impaneling an impartial jury in Winona would not be possible because of the pretrial publicity and the widely publicized searches for Kingsbury after she went missing.

“It is clear to this court that a fair trial within this province cannot be guaranteed,” Buytendorp writes in the ruling.

The ruling did not indicate where the trial will take place.

The Winona County District Court will work with the Minnesota court to determine an appropriate venue to hear the case, Buytendorp wrote.

In addition to granting the change of venue, Buytendorp denied a request to dismiss the first-degree murder charge filed by a Winona County grand jury in October 2023. Kingsbury was reported missing on March 31, 2023. Her body was found north of Mabel. , Minnesota June 7, 2023.

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Fravel’s attorney argued that the grand jury heard evidence and testimony that might not be admissible in the upcoming trial.

Buytendorp noted that the state has a lower burden of proof for filing charges than for securing a conviction in court.

“The fact that grand jurors may hear evidence that would be inadmissible at trial is not sufficient to dismiss an indictment if there is sufficient admissible evidence to establish probable cause,” Buytentrop wrote.

Buytendorp also granted a request from prosecutors to give jurors in the case an aggravated departure instruction based on the charges against Fravel, based on the fact that Kingsbury’s body was deliberately hidden.

Fravel’s attorney also asked that the statements he made to law enforcement be suppressed because they were illegally obtained before he was properly advised of his rights.

Buytendorp disagreed and wrote that Fravel’s statements were offered voluntarily and while he had not been arrested.

“(Fravel) voluntarily agreed to meet with the officers and drove his own car to the station,” she wrote. “(He) maintained his innocence as to knowledge of Ms. Kingsbury’s whereabouts, and it is worth emphasizing that the two plainclothes officers who conducted the interview did not use firearms during the encounter.”

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