David Fincher
David Smith

A hearing date for a change of venue motion for two former Explo Systems Inc., officials has been set for June.

David Fincher and David Alan Smith are charged with unlawful storage of explosives, conspiracy to commit unlawful storage of explosives, reckless use of explosives, conspiracy to commit reckless use of explosives, failure to obtain magazine license, conspiracy to commit failure to obtain magazine license, failure to properly mark explosive material, conspiracy to commit failure to properly mark explosive material, failure to keep accurate inventory and conspiracy to commit failure to keep accurate inventory.

In court Friday, briefs were submitted by District Attorney Schuyler Marvin and defense attorneys Ronald Miciotto and H. Lyn Lawrence, respectively. The motion to change the venue was addressed, according to court minutes, and a sample panel from which to choose a jury for a “mock or informal trial” will be made to “limit questions to specific issues for change of venue.”
In an earlier interview with Marvin, he said the defense had requested a change of venue due to the extensive media coverage the defendants’ cases were getting.

The motion will be heard on June 19. At this time, all parties will have to right to any additional arguments or present any additional evidence. A pretrial conference will be done by phone or in the judge’s chambers, court minutes say.

Three other defendants, Lionel Koons, Todd Dietrich and Michael Kile, all entered guilty pleas to misdemeanor charges.

Fincher, Smith, William Wright, Charles Callihan, Kenneth Lampkin and Koons were all charged on federal charges of conspiracy. Callihan is also charged with one count of lying to a federal agency. The other five face six counts each of wire fraud and more than 20 counts each of making false statements. All have pleaded not guilty.

Fincher and Smith were among six officials with Explo charged following the 2012 explosion at Camp Minden that rocked the surrounding communities when improperly stored M6 propellant exploded. The subsequent investigation by the Louisiana State Police revealed nearly 16 million pounds of demilitarized propellant had been stored improperly.