ORD - - The trial of a former Ord man accused in the 1989 murder of Cathy Beard will proceed as scheduled - just not in Valley County. District Judge Karin Noakes sustained a motion by the defense for a change of venue, relocating the trial from Ord, the county seat of Valley County, to St. Paul, the county seat of Howard County.
Judge Noakes ruled on the motion during a Nov. 14 pretrial hearing for John Oldson. In the motion, defense attorney James Mowbray shared with the judge results of a recent survey conducted in Valley County in which 75 percent of those surveyed admitted they have a biased opinion of Oldson’s guilt.
Mowbray says these results clearly show it would be extremely difficult to come up with an impartial jury pool.
The defense attorney also brought into question the location of the bar where Beard disappeared, and its close proximity to the Valley County Courthouse.
Then 31-year-old Cathy Beard of Ord, had last been seen leaving an Ord bar with John R. Oldson, a former Ord resident, May 31, 1989. In April 1992, Beard's body was discovered in a pasture near Ord.
Oldson, now 46 years old, was arrested Jan. 24, 2012, near his home in Randolph, Mo. The next day he agreed to waive extradition back to Nebraska to stand trial for the murder of Cathy Beard.
Valley County Attorney Glenn Clark, along with Assistant Attorney General for the state Cory O’Brien, is now preparing new surveys to be sent to potential jurors in Howard County, in order to establish whether or not an impartial jury can be found there.
Oldson remains in custody in the Valley County Jail without bond. His trial is set to begin Jan. 28 in Howard County.