Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, April 16, 2001

Bernhardt granted change of venue

By Gail Lipe

Salem Mathew Bernhardt, 24, will be tried for five felony charges in Scott County District Court in Shakopee in connection with the kidnapping and murder of Randy Pool in July 1999.

Judge Mary Jean Theisen granted a change of venue in McLeod County District Court on Friday, with a contested omnibus hearing scheduled during the first week of June. The trial date will be set then.

Jeffrey Kennedy, Bernhardt's attorney, said he filed the motion for change of venue because of the publicity of the newspaper coverage and other media in the area. He said he felt it would make a trial in McLeod County unfair for his client.

Pool's body was discovered in a duffel bag in the Clearwater River on July 28, 1999. He was held against his will and repeatedly beaten and tortured in his home in Hutchinson for approximately three days before his death.

A McLeod County grand jury indicted Bernhardt in December on five felony charges: first-degree murder - premeditated; first-degree murder - intentional while kidnapping; second-degree murder - intentional; kidnapping and third-degree assault.

Bernhardt's brother, Scott Randolf Bernhardt, 20, also was indicted on two felony charges in connection with Pool's murder: kidnapping and third-degree assault. His next court appearance is scheduled for April 27.

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