Change of venue request for dentist, wife denied

The Dubois County Circuit Court denied a request for a jury to be drawn from Martin County for the upcoming trial of the Huntingburg dentist and his wife accused of criminal confinement and neglect.

Police arrested Alan P. Friz, 57, and his wife, Aimee Friz, 36, both of 5275 W Co Rd 700 S., in October after allegedly discovering a closet had been converted into a cage to hold a female juvenile. During the investigation, the female juvenile alleged Mr. Friz had sexually assaulted her. As a result of the investigation, the Friz’s were charged with 11 felony counts of neglect and 11 felony counts of criminal confinement. Mr. Friz was also charged with four felony counts of sexual misconduct with a minor.

According to court documents, the prosecuting attorney’s office and the two defendants had agreed to the request to pull the jury from Martin County. However, during a hearing on Friday, the court denied the request.

In their separate filings, attorneys for the defendants stated the pair would likely not receive a fair and impartial trial in the case. Attorney Tim Demotte’s filing stated Mr. Friz’s would not receive a fair or impartial trial due to public hostility towards the defendant, prejudicial news reporting or editorializing which castigates the defendant, speculative opinions as to the personality or character of the accused and disclosure of inadmissible evidence. In the case of Mrs. Friz, Attorney Michael Hagedorn states the case has received a significant amount of prejudicial pretrial publicity and will likely receive more.

State code allows a defendant to request a change of venue based on perceived bias or prejudice that may exist in the county the crime occurred. However, state statute limits drawing a jury from the residents from a county other than the county in which the court is located to Level 1 and Level 2 felony murder cases. The Frizes are only facing Level 5 and Level 6 felony charges.

A hearing regarding the change of venue motions has been scheduled for April 17. The Friz’s trial is scheduled to start August 27 with final pretrial July 16.

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