The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

April 29, 2010

Change of venue for Carthage father denied by judge

By Jeff Lehr
Globe Staff Writer

JOPLIN, Mo. — Jasper County Circuit Judge Gayle Crane has denied a defense motion for a change of venue in the child-murder case of Carthage father Eddie A. Salazar.

Salazar, 29, is accused of killing his 8-month-old son, Eddie A. Salazar Jr., on Feb. 4. He is charged with second-degree murder.

Investigators believe he inflicted blunt-force trauma to the child’s head and disposed of the baby’s body in Spring River east of Carthage. He then allegedly, in an effort to cover up the crime, fabricated an account of late-night intruders who abducted his son from their home on Mound Street.

Salazar has entered a plea of innocent.

Maleia Cheney, the father’s public defender, filed a motion April 15 for a change of venue, saying excessive publicity could prejudice Jasper County jurors against her client.

Crane overruled the motion this week.

The judge on April 19 did sustain a defense motion that sought to compel the Jasper County prosecutor’s office to state more specifically what Salazar is accused of doing to the child. The state has not made it clear whether investigators believe he struck the child in the head with his hands, fists or an object, or if he caused the baby’s head to strike a surface such as a floor, a wall or furniture.

An autopsy conducted by the Boone County medical examiner’s office determined that the cause of the death was blunt-force trauma to the head. The autopsy revealed a skull fracture and other unspecified bone fractures.

Investigators have not revealed publicly how the fatal injury to the child was inflicted.

Next hearing

Eddie Salazar is scheduled to make his next appearance in Jasper County Circuit Court at a motions hearing June 21. He remains held without bond at the Jasper County Jail in Carthage.