Hearing set on bid by Miss. coast man to move his trial

Published 4:36 pm Friday, December 14, 2007

A hearing is scheduled in Jackson County Circuit Court next month to consider a change of venue request filed by lawyers for a man accused in 2004 rape and murder of his stepdaughter.

Circuit Judge Kathy King will hear arguments on Jan. 16 from attorneys for Sean Downing. The defense wants the trial moved because of publicity about the case.

Downing was charged with capital murder about a month after the death of 15-year-old Robyn Weatherford. The girl’s mother, Rose Downing, found Weatherford’s body in a shed next to the Ocean Springs home where the teenager lived with Downing, her mother and two brothers.

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Investigators allege Downing attacked and killed Weatherford in her bedroom the night of Aug. 13, 2004, or early the next morning.

Downing disappeared after Weatherford was killed but was picked up in Cameron Parish, La., after he was arrested during a fight there.

Ocean Springs Police Capt. Louis Miller testified that a bloody palm print found on a wall in the teen’s bedroom was key evidence because it matched Downing’s palm print.