James Pendleton appeared before Seventh District Court Judge George Harmond on Thursday requesting a change of venue for his upcoming murder trial.
Pendleton has been charged with murder and aggravated kidnapping, both first degree felonies, as well as criminal conspiracy, a second degree felony, and aggravated assault, a third degree felony.
It was argued by the defense that Pendleton would not receive a fair trial in the local area. Ultimately, Judge Harmond denied the request for a change of venue.
“The motion to change venue is denied,” court documents stated. “The jury trial is confirmed. Mr. Pendleton is ordered to be held locally pending trial.”
The charges stem from an event in July when Pendleton allegedly participated in action that resulted in the death of Brian William Swink. Allegedly, Pendleton, along with two others, locked Swink in the basement of a home following a fight between Pendleton and Swink the night before. Further testimony stated that Swink possibly started a fire in the basement in an attempt to gain attention from authorities to aid in his release.
When authorities arrived at the scene, Pendleton allegedly informed officers that Swink was in the basement of the burning home and stated that he was armed with a weapon, which delayed fire crews from extinguishing the fire. Once they were allowed access to the basement, they found Swink deceased. He was unarmed, though a lighter was found in his pocket. Swink had multiple injuries, but no burns.
Pendleton was taken into custody at the scene.