Fodness trial rescheduled in May

By LeAnn R. Ralph

MENOMONIE —  The trial for former Colfax resident Michael Fodness that ended in a mistrial earlier this month in Rusk County has been rescheduled for May in Rusk County.

Dunn County Circuit Court Judge William Stewart scheduled the trial at a hearing held February 18.

Fodness, 45, is charged in Dunn County with multiple counts that include second-degree sexual assault of a child, child enticement, intimidating a witness and repeated sexual assault of the same child.

Fodness also is charged with several misdemeanor counts of bail jumping.

A mistrial was declared the morning of February 5 in Rusk County after an investigator said Fodness had already been convicted of other crimes during a taped interview with one of the alleged victims shown to the jury the day before.

The new seven-day trial May 13 through May 21 is the fourth time a trial has been scheduled.

The case initially was set for trial in February of 2012, was postponed until August, and was postponed again in August until February after Fodness was taken to the hospital with a ruptured appendix.

This time around, Fodness has requested a speedy trial.

During the February 18 court hearing, Fodness’s attorney, Shirlene Perrin, filed a motion with the court to reduce bail.

Fodness has been in custody since October of 2010 on a $100,000 cash bond.

Judge Stewart denied the February 18 motion for a reduction in bail.

Perrin also has filed several motions with the court in the past seeking a reduced bond amount.

Perrin is Fodness’s fourth attorney to represent him on this particular case.

Judge Stewart granted a change of venue in August of 2011 because he was concerned that the number of potential victims and the number of family members of potential victims would make it difficult to find an impartial jury in Dunn County.