NORTHWOOD | A judge has ruled a trial for Mason City man accused of attempted murder and a hate crime will be moved from Worth to Bremer County.
Trapp Leroy Trotter Jr., 31, was charged with felony attempted murder, first-degree burglary and misdemeanor fourth-degree criminal mischief—hate crime following a stabbing in Northwood June 2.
Trotter's court-appointed attorney, Letitia Turner, filed for a change of venue July 16, citing "extensive media coverage and publicity concerning this case."
Turner argued "the media has revealed to the potential jury pool" that she is a public defender, as well as the possible prison sentence for each charge.
Attorney names and potential sentences are publicly available through court documents and state law.
“As a result of the continuing media coverage, gossip and rumor among the residents of Worth County concerning the outcome of this case, Mr. Trotter cannot receive a fair trial from an impartial jury in Worth County,” Turner noted in the motion.
Judge Rustin Davenport granted a change of venue July 20, saying in an order "there has been sufficient publicity concerning this case so that it might be difficult for the defendant to have a fair and impartial jury that are not predisposed one way or another."
Nodtvedt told law enforcement Trotter started fighting with him "because he didn't like that he was white" and, after stabbing him, chased him while yelling, "You're going to die tonight, white boy," court document said.
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Iowa law defines a hate crime as an offense committed against a person or their property because of the person’s race or other protected characteristics.
Trotter was released after posting bond July 18. He is under the supervision of the Department of Correctional Services.
Trotter was being held on a $50,000 cash or surety bond. Judge Christopher Foy reduced it to $12,500, allowing him to post a surety bond or 10 percent cash, $1,250.
Foy had ruled the "present terms of bond are more onerous than necessary" to ensure Trotter appeared at court hearings and to protect the community.
Trotter's trial is scheduled for Sept. 26 in Bremer County District Court. It had originally been set for Aug. 1, but Turner filed a motion to reschedule the trial, saying Trotter is expecting a child around Aug. 10.
Trotter plans to rely on self-defense at trial, according to a motion filed by Turner.