The Campbell County Commonwealth Attorney claims court documents in a high-profile murder trial are based on "extreme, pervasive fraud."
The forgery claim comes two days before a judge will decide whether Shayna Hubers can receive a fair trial in Northern Kentucky.
The defense is required to collect 171 signatures from Northern Kentucky residents who agree that Hubers can't receive a fair trial by jury in the NKY area. The petition is part of a motion to move Hubers' murder trial out of Campbell County and surrounding counties.
Someone forged 156 out of those 171 signatures, the commonwealth attorney wrote in court documents filed Wednesday.
A jury previously convicted Hubers of murder in the death of her boyfriend, Ryan Poston, in 2012. She was sentenced to 40 years in prison, but defense attorneys later learned that one of the jurors was a convicted felon. Under Kentucky law, felons are not qualified to serve on the jury.
Her second trial is set for January and the defense wants it moved to another county.
It was "apparent" that many of the signatures were potentially forged, prosecutors wrote. Within 5 hours of receiving the documents, attorneys determined 75 percent of the signatures supporting the motion were not authentic.
Names on the petition included Brandon Phillips - a former Cincinnati Reds player who moved to Atlanta in February and Corey Plybon - an assistant Commonwealth Attorney working for the same office that is prosecuting Hubers.
Attorneys contacted some residents who signed the petition and many had never seen nor signed the document.
The woman who notarized the petitions admitted to forging the signatures, Highland Heights Police Chief Bill Birkenhauer wrote in an affidavit.
David M. Eldridge and Jeffrey A. Lawson, counsel for Hubers, said they had nothing to do with the forgery.
The attorneys plan to withdraw the motion to move the trial, but said they will be "refiling it at another time.” Their statement reads in-part:
"We relied upon what we understood was an experienced and reputable investigative firm to assist us in collecting these Affidavits and had no reason to question its integrity. We were shocked and saddened to learn today of Ms. Young’s conduct and are mortified that her actions have resulted in our filing false documents with the Court. Although some of the Affidavits we submitted in support of the motion are valid, we will be withdrawing the motion as it is now filed and not relying upon any of the Affidavits collected by the firm by which Ms. Young was employed."
Birkenhauer is investigating the alleged forgeries.
Wednesday, August 23 2017 1:26 AM EDT2017-08-23 05:26:19 GMT
Wednesday, August 23 2017 1:47 PM EDT2017-08-23 17:47:33 GMT
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