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Pierre teen's murder trial moved to Winner

By Nora Hertel

PIERRE (AP) — The trial of a Pierre teenager accused of fatally shooting a classmate has been moved by a judge after the defense argued he couldn't get a fair trial.

Braiden McCahren, 17, will go on trial for murder on June 2 in Winner, about 100 miles south of Pierre, after Circuit Judge John Brown approved the change of venue.

Defense attorneys commissioned a public opinion survey of 300 registered voters in the county that they said showed about half the respondents had formed an opinion on McCahren's innocence or guilt. Prosecutors were unsuccessful in their earlier request to get the judge to review the survey in advance.

Defense attorneys also introduced material on trial coverage in newspapers such as the Pierre Capital Journal and other media outlets.

Michael Moore, an attorney for the state, opposed the change of venue, arguing that the evidence presented wasn't sufficient to justify it.

McCahren is being tried as an adult. He pleaded not guilty in the December 2012 death of 16-year-old Dalton Williams.

McCahren is accused of shooting Williams with a shotgun after first pointing the weapon at another boy following an argument about a paintball game.

Defense lawyers have argued the shooting was accidental. Prosecutors have said McCahren has a history of violent, reckless behavior.

The next pre-trial hearing is May 12 in Pierre.