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Change-of-venue request likely in killing

SAN DIEGO, March 16 (UPI) -- The accused killer of a 17-year-old San Diego girl will likely seek a change of venue because of extensive media coverage of the case, legal experts say.

John Albert Gardner III has pleaded not guilty to charges of raping and killing Chelsea King of Poway, Calif., The San Diego Union-Tribune reported Tuesday.

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Gardner's lawyers have not filed papers requesting a change in location for his trial, but some say it's only a matter of time.

"I suspect they will," said Shaun Martin, a University of San Diego law professor, noting the extreme public interest in the case.

But such requests are not often approved, another attorney said.

"It's really hard to get a change of venue," Donald Levine, a lawyer not involved in the Gardner case, said. "I've only seen it in one or two cases in 30 years."

Gardner, a registered sex offender, was arrested three days after King disappeared on Feb. 25 while running in a local park. Her body was found March 2.

Dozens of reporters from local and national media outlets covered Gardner's arraignment in San Diego, the Union-Tribune reported.

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