Judge Considers Request to Move Trial

A judge is considering a request to move the trial for one of five people accused in the shooting death of a Salina high school student.

Judge Rene Young heard several motions Friday afternoon from attorneys representing 22-year-old Macio Palacio. Palacio is accused of being the person who fired several shots from a handgun, including one that fatally struck 17-year-old Allie Saum.

The defense argued that publicity in the case including on the radio, on television, in the newspaper, and online makes it impossible to find a jury in Saline County that has not heard details surrounding it. Attorneys also pointed out at least a dozen messages which appeared around Salina, most on business signs and marquees, offering condolences to the the family.

The Saline County Attorney’s Office argued that the publicity in this case is no different than in other cases involving violent crimes. Several specific cases were cited in which trial locations were not moved.

The case stems from the shooting death of 17-year-old Allie Saum.

Allie Saum was shot and killed on May 6th in what prosecutors allege was a case of mistaken identity. During a preliminary hearing they presented evidence showing that the shooting was prompted by a fight earlier in the evening. A group of people went out to seek revenge. One of them mistakenly identified a pickup that was driving by as being involved in the fight. Shots were fired at the truck as it drove eastbound in the 500 block of Russell. Saum was a passenger in the truck, and was hit in the head.

The defendants in the case include:

  • 22-year-old Macio Palacio
  • 19-year-old Jerome Forbes
  • 19-year-old Daniel Sims
  • 18-year-old Stephen Gentry
  • 17-year-old Andrew Woodring

All five will face the same charges at trial, which include:

  • 1st degree murder
  • attempted 1st degree murder
  • shooting at an occupied vehicle
  • conspiracy to commit aggravated battery

Additionally, Woodring faces an obstruction charge.

Each trial will be held separately.

A sixth defendant is also accused in the case, 21-year-old Azucena Garcia-Ferniza. She is facing an obstruction charge, accused of trying to hide the gun that was used in the shooting. Garcia-Ferniza was being held in federal custody. Earlier this week she was transferred to the Saline County jail.

Garcia-Ferniza was indicted on September 2nd on a federal gun charge. In that case she is charged with one count of unlawful possession of a firearm by an alien illegally in the United States. If convicted in the federal case, she faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000.

Judge Young did not make a ruling on Palacio’s change of venue motion Friday. She indicated that she will issue a ruling in December.

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