February 9, 2006
Former substitute teacher Billy Cleveland, accused of touching female students, waits patiently for his day in court. And now it appears he’ll have to wait a little bit longer.
Attorneys gathered to discuss pending motions in the case, including one from the defense team to get the trial moved out of Columbia County.
Cleveland arrived with his attorney from Atlanta this morning. This hearing comes after prosecutors weren’t prepared to discuss the motion on Monday. The motion to change venue is still pending as Judge William Fleming explains.
“Once we begin jury selection, and it appears the court, the defendant cannot get a fair trial in Columbia County, then I would be required to change the venue,” Judge Fleming said.
So once jury selection beings, Judge Fleming will talk individually with each potential juror to see if media coverage has tainted their judgment.
The allegations stem from Cleveland’s days as a substitute teacher at Riverside and Brookwood Elementaries. The alleged crimes happened last spring.
The judge said on Thursday that the trial likely won’t start until sometime after April 1. That’s so a member of the prosecution team can finish recovering from back surgery.