Appeals court refuses to move Laura Garza murder case

(AP) - An appeals court has refused to movethe New York trial of a sex offender accused of killing an aspiringdancer.Defense attorneys for 25-year-old Michael

BROOKLYN - (AP) - An appeals court has refused to movethe New York trial of a sex offender accused of killing an aspiringdancer.

Defense attorneys for 25-year-old Michael Mele hadargued that there was prejudicial publicity about the case inOrange County, where Mele lives.

The Appellate Division denied the motion. But it said thedefense could raise the objection again during jury selection.

District Attorney Frank Phillips had opposed the move. He saidTuesday the issue is not whether jurors have heard about a case butwhether they can be fair and impartial.

The 25-year-old Mele has pleaded not guilty to murder andmanslaughter. The victim, Laura Garza of Brooklyn, met him at aManhattan nightclub in 2008 and disappeared afterward. Her body wasfound last year.

Sex offender pleads not guilty in Laura Garza's death Loved ones remember Laura Garza on 2nd anniversary of disappearance

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