A Jefferson man charged with numerous crimes, including sexual abuse and illegal possession of a firearm, has requested a change of venue for his upcoming trial.
Richard Tuhn’s defense team says past media coverage of the case could affect local jurors’ ability to remain impartial.
Tuhn, 43, was arrested in February for alleged third-degree sexual abuse, alleged illegal control of a firearm by a felon, alleged possession of methamphetamine, alleged possession of marijuana, and alleged illegal possession of the prescription drug Tramadol . He is now asking for a motion to move the impending jury trial out of Greene County, which he filed on April 25.
Tuhn’s defense team, according to court documents, claimed that a specific pair of articles published in the Jefferson Herald detailing his arrests were “inflammatory” and did not contain a “disclaimer” that a no one is innocent until proven guilty. The defense team also claims that a sentence referring to “a checkered criminal past” in the February 10 Herald was “inflammatory”. According to further analysis of court documents, Tuhn’s defense team says a March 10 follow-up article in the Jefferson Herald was “once again inflammatory and did not include any language indicating that an accusation is not is not a condemnation”.
The defense team also said publication of Tuhn’s criminal history in the Jefferson Herald would ultimately have an effect on public perception of the impending jury trial, saying it would “likely taint the jury pool in such a way that Tuhn could not receive a fair trial on this case in Greene County.
The hearing for a possible change of venue is set for 1:30 p.m. on May 23 at the Greene County Courthouse.
Tuhn was arrested on the morning of February 1 for criminal possession of a firearm – his four previous convictions for domestic assault as well as a conviction for assault and a conviction for third-degree burglary prevent Tuhn from legally possessing gun. He was convicted twice of domestic violence in 2010 and twice more in 2014 with his conviction for burglary in 2014. He was also convicted of assault after punching a man in 2019 following an altercation between him, Tuhn and another person.
This most recent investigation began when local officers were notified of an alleged domestic assault that may have involved Tuhn on January 17. A criminal complaint was filed with the police department two weeks later on January 31, alleging that Tuhn was in unlawful possession of two rifles. A Jefferson police officer then executed search warrants at a residence where Tuhn was believed to be living as well as a 2002 F350 he owned on Vest Street. The officer found a spoon with white residue (which later turned out to be methamphetamine) and two prescription tramadol pills in the vehicle. The findings led to Tuhn’s arrest on February 1. He was then released in the afternoon.
The alleged sexual abuse complaint was filed on February 2, claiming that Tuhn allegedly committed sexual abuse after being released from prison the day before.
Tuhn was arrested again on February 3, but not on a sexual assault charge.
Officers first jailed Tuhn again for felony possession of a firearm, learning that he was indeed in possession of two rifles and allegedly stole a black Walther handgun. He allegedly texted the owner of the handgun, saying the subject would ‘never see the gun again’ and Tuhn planned to ‘shoot officers and force officers to shoot him,’ according to documents. judicial. A warrant for the alleged crime of sexual abuse was issued on February 8. Tuhn was arrested the following day, February 9.
He entered a written plea of not guilty to all of the above charges on February 28.
Courts back and forth on Tuhn’s bail
Tuhn was first released from jail on April 7, which was later overturned, sending him back to jail.
Tuhn is a Marine Corps veteran and said he plans to seek treatment at the VA clinic while out on bail.
According to court documents, the state, represented by Greene County Attorney Thomas Laehn, found that “defendant’s release was inconsistent with the conditions the court imposed on the defendant’s release, pending trial”. The court initially said Tuhn could be freed if he posted $15,000 cash bond in his name only. Statewide Cash Bonds, LLC is the company that posted the bail money on Tuhn’s behalf on April 7, which is why the state felt he should be returned to custody.
Tuhn’s defense claimed he was arrested on April 11 at the direction of Laehn’s clearance to law enforcement, which they say was done “without any judicial authority.”
The defense said Tuhn was unable to secure the $15,000 cash needed to post his bond, so they sought a surety. His team also suggested that Tuhn would not leave the county after his release, as he maintains a significant other nearby while his mother also lives in Greene County.
Court documents suggest Tuhn’s bail was then approved on April 27.