Judge denies change of venue request

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Mar 13, 2013 at 10:20 am

WILLMAR, Minn. (AP) A judge in Kandiyohi County has denied a change of venue for a man accused of killing three family members in fiery highway crash.

Twenty-two-year-old Paul Wickenhauser faces 15 felony charges in the August crash near Willmar that killed 68-year-old Marta Stoffers, of Atwater, her 40-year-old daughter-in-law, Michelle Hoffman, of Eden Prairie, and Hoffman's 8-year-old daughter Julia.

Hoffman's 5-year-old son survived his injuries.

Defense attorney Lynne Togerson argued Tuesday that pretrial publicity about the case could taint a local jury pool.

Authorities say Wickenhauser was driving a pickup truck on Highway 12, crossed the center line and struck the victims' minivan, which caught fire.

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