Judge to allow jurors to visit crash site where 4-year-old was killed

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WDKY) – Jacob Heil was in court Thursday for hearing on motions in his case.

The former University of Kentucky student is accused of reckless homicide and DUI following a September 2018 crash hitting 4-year-old Marco Shemwell near Kroger Field. Shemwell would die from injuries sustained in the crash.

Judge Lucy VanMeter granted the defense’s motion to allow jurors to visit the crash scene on Cooper Drive.

Heil’s attorneys previously argued in the filed motion that a crucial dispute in the case is whether or not Shemwell was in the road or standing by it when Heil crashed. They believe a scene visit would allow the jury to reach a fully informed verdict.

The Commonwealth’s attorneys objected to that decision, arguing there are photos and videos that more accurately depict the scene.

Prosecutors did not object to a motion to exclude Heil’s preliminary breath test that police took at the scene.

Both sides agreed to limit the postmortem pictures used during the trial and to exclude specific ‘subjective opinions’ made by the accident reconstructionist.

Judge VanMeter also ruled the state could not use photos of Shemwell’s shoes unless prosecutors use them to emphasize facts, like how visible the boy was, not to garner an emotional reaction from the jury.

The Heil and Shemwell families were in the courtroom.

Neither side wanted to comment on camera about the outcome of the hearing.

Jury selection for Heil’s trial will begin April 2, and opening statements are scheduled for April 6.

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