Judge denies change of venue request in 'Pokemon Go' murder case

A judge said the trial of Johnathan Cromwell will move forward in Chesapeake where the security officer is charged with the killing of Jiansheng Chen.

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WVEC) -- A judge denied a request to move the murder trial of a security officer charged with killing a man who was playing Pokemon Go.

Police said Johnathan Cromwell shot Jiansheng Chen on January 26, 2017 after Cromwell confronted the 60-year-old in the River Walk neighborhood.

A lawyer representing Chen's family said the grandfather was playing Pokemon Go outside the River Walk Clubhouse. Chen was in his van at the time.

Loading ...

Cromwell's attorney, Andrew Sacks, asked for a change of venue in court Thursday, saying the publicity of the case will result in a tainted jury.

"A lot of people have opinions about it in Chesapeake. It wouldn't surprise me if we have a problem picking a jury," Sacks said.

The judge said publicity is not a good enough excuse to move the trial.

Besides denying that request, the judge said he would not entertain holding another bond hearing for Cromwell. The judge stated, once again, he believes the evidence against Cromwell suggests the officer did, in fact, murder Chen and did not act in self-defense as Cromwell and Sacks claimed.

"Until this case is tried, I'm going to keep my eyes open for any new information and change of circumstances," Sacks said. "We're working on a lot of things that we really haven't gotten into and there may be new evidence."

Sacks argued Cromwell was a state registered armed security officer who was doing his job when he confronted Chen. Sacks added that Chen had trespassed in River Walk and in the area of the clubhouse prior to the shooting.

Chen's family and friends said they are anxiously waiting for justice.

"It's heartbreaking for us. We miss our Mr. Chen," said Harry Zhang, family spokesperson. "We are persistent and sooner or later, we believe the system and justice will come."

Follow 13News Now on Facebook and Twitter

► Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the 13News Now App.