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El Reno murder defendant’s hearing rescheduled

A Canadian County district judge rescheduled a hearing on murder defendant Joshua Durcho’s request to move his trial. The judge delayed the hearing to June 23 for technical reasons.

BY NOLAN CLAY Modified: May 25, 2010 at 6:05 am •  Published: May 25, 2010
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EL RENO — A judge Monday delayed a hearing in a multiple-murder case but said he still intends to start the trial Sept. 13 as scheduled.

"That’s a hard date,” Canadian County District Judge Gary E. Miller said.

Ex-convict Joshua Steven Durcho, 27, is asking the judge to move his jury trial out of Canadian County. He is charged with five counts of first-degree murder.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

The judge delayed a hearing on his request to June 23 because of a legal technicality.

Durcho is accused of strangling his girlfriend, Summer Rust, 25; her daughters, Kirsten Rust, 7, Autumn Rust, 7, and Evynn Garas, 3; and her son, Teagin Rust, 4.

Their bodies were found Jan. 12, 2009, in their El Reno apartment.

Durcho was in chains and heavily guarded during the 10 minutes he was in court Monday.

A deputy told relatives of the victims and news reporters to not sit on the front row of benches.

Defense attorneys contend the trial must be moved because widespread publicity has biased potential jurors.

Prosecutors contend a jury could be found since much of the publicity came right after the deaths 16 months ago.

Defense attorneys are required to have statements from at least three Canadian County residents who agree a trial in El Reno is impossible.

The hearing was delayed after defense attorneys found out two people who signed affidavits for them have moved. Defense attorneys said they will get more affidavits before the next hearing.

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