Now that Franklin Circuit Court 1 Judge Steven Cox granted David Ison’s request for a change of venue in his murder trial Nov. 23, he will have to decide whether to move the prosecution to a different county or bus jurors to the Brookville courthouse from elsewhere, reported Prosecutor Melvin Wilhelm.

Ison, 46, Glenwood, is accused of shooting to death a Laurel family (Roy Napier, 50, his estranged wife Angela Napier, 47, and their children Jacob Napier, 18, and Melissa Napier, 23) Sept. 25 inside of a mobile home, and a neighbor, Henry X. Smith, 43, outside across Stipps Hill Road, according to a probable cause affidavit filed Oct. 7. 

Wilhelm said he expects the judge to rule on that aspect of the trial this week or next.

What county will Cox choose? The prosecutor pointed out, “It depends how far reaching all the publicity is.” If the judge believes Ison could not get a fair verdict in a neighboring county, “he has to go some distance away. That’s going to be his call. With the publicity this has received, I suspect we’ll have to go several counties removed.”

Wilhelm doesn’t know yet whether he will ask for the assistance of other prosecutors in building the case against Ison. “I’ll see how things go.”

He also is still on the fence about whether to seek the death penalty for Ison if the man is found guilty by the jury. “I’m still waiting on all the police and lab reports ... soon I’ll talk to the family, then make a decision.”

If Wilhelm does decide to do that, this would be his first death penalty case.


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