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Inmates accused in fatal escape attempt seek change of venue

Attorneys for Frazier, Brady, Monk and Buckman will have to prove they can't seat a fair and impartial jury in the county. The district attorney plans to fight the motion.

PASQUOTANK COUNTY, N.C. (WVEC) — It's been over a year since four people lost their lives in a botched prison break in Pasquotank County, and the four inmates accused in the murders still haven't faced a jury.

Seth Frazier, Mikel Brady, Jonathan Monk, and Wisezah Buckman will be back in court in about a month. Prosecutors are hoping to set a trial date at that hearing, but where that trial will take place is now the focus of debate.

13News Now Investigates: Crisis in Corrections

READ MORE: Attempted Pasquotank prison escape one year later

Lights and sirens converged on Pasquotank prison in October of last year. In the close-knit community, everyone knew someone affected by the failed escape attempt. Everyone knew someone close to the victims -- Wendy Shannon, Justin Smith, Veronica Darden, and Geoffrey Howe.

“We believe that the citizenry of Pasquotank County were most affected by those acts,” said District Attorney Andrew Womble.

Womble plans to fight a defense motion to move the trial outside Pasquotank. Attorneys for Frazier, Brady, Monk, and Buckman will have to prove they can't seat a fair and impartial jury in the county.

Womble believes this place, one that mourned together, should decide the case together.

“We feel Pasquotank would be the right place to have the citizens here be the voice of the community about how justice should be handed out in these particular cases,” Womble explained.

Justice hasn't been swift in this case. Womble hopes the community and the families left behind understand he wants to get this right and that takes time.

“We're doing everything we can to push the cases forward as fast as possible, but also making sure that we do it pursuant to the statutes and the regulations that we have in place so that we only have to do this once,” Womble added.

Prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty in these cases. They are scheduled to argue motions about that aspect at the December hearing, as well.

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