MASON CITY | The trial for a Mason City man accused of stabbing multiple people at a downtown bar on the Fourth of July has been moved to January in Cerro Gordo County.
Raul Millares Arias, 39, was charged with five counts of felony willful injury resulting in serious injury and felony going armed with intent following an incident at The Place 2B, 116 N. Federal Ave.
The jury trial is set for Jan. 8, 2019, in Cerro Gordo County District Court.
The court on Nov. 9 denied a request for changing the trial location.
District Court Judge Colleen Weiland noted in court documents she was not convinced Millares Arias would not have a fair trial.
“The evidence presented here demonstrates media coverage and community discussion typical of many felony cases in Cerro Gordo County and which has not, in other cases, prevented the seating of a fair and impartial jury,” court documents said. “The court will not hesitate to transfer venue in the event it becomes obvious that such a jury cannot be seated at the time set for trial in this county.”
His attorney, David Skilton, had argued why a change of venue should be granted, including prejudice, “adverse media coverage” and the likelihood that a fair, impartial jury trial could not be occur with a jury in Cerro Gordo County.
He attached articles he found in a Google search and noted there were Facebook posts on the incident as well. The attached documents included a screenshot of an online search with articles from the Globe Gazette and other local media.
Cerro Gordo County Attorney Carlyle Dalen and Assistant County Attorney James O’Hollearn opposed the request in a filing.
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Skilton previously asked Weiland to restrict the public and media from viewing the change of venue documents.
Weiland denied his request, saying the documents should be accessible to the public.
Millares Arias had been asked to leave the downtown Mason City bar July 4 before stabbing four men and a woman with an 8-inch knife, and attempted to stab a sixth person "without justification," according to police. He was chased out of the bar by a customer and detained by witnesses across the street before police arrived.
The five people who were stabbed sustained serious injuries to their necks or backs, according to police. Millares Arias intends to rely on defenses of intoxication and diminished responsibility, court documents say.
Millares Arias is being held in the Cerro Gordo County Jail on a $50,000 bond.
Court documents noted a Spanish interpreter was used during his initial court appearance and will continue to be used. He was also granted written translations for court-related material.