OGDEN -- The defense has filed a change of venue motion seeking to move the upcoming murder trial of Eric Millerberg to Park City or Salt Lake County.
The motion cites extensive publicity around the case as depriving Millerberg of his right to a fair trial before an impartial jury.
The case has long been in the public eye, drawing coverage by local and Salt Lake City media since 16-year-old Alexis Rasmussen was reported missing in September 2011.
Her last known whereabouts was baby-sitting at Millerberg's North Ogden home. It began as a mystery with Rasmussen's disappearance, then turned into a whodunit followed by suspects identified long before they were officially charged.
Rasmussen's body was found hidden in a remote location in Morgan County on Oct. 18, 2011, five weeks after prosecutors believe she died while partying with Millerberg and his wife, Dea.
"In this case, the Standard-Examiner, the local newspaper for Weber County, there have been at least 56 separate articles about Alexis Rasmussen since her disappearance" and 34 mentioning Millerberg, reads the motion filed by Randall Marshall, Millerberg's public defender.
"And we can only expect continued coverage," Marshall writes. "In fact, the most recent artricle about this case published in the Standard-Examiner was an article stating that defendant's counsel was going to file this very motion."
While Weber County has a fairly large population, the publicity and notoriety of this case and its victim "created the effect of a close, small community because of the amount of newspaper and television coverage," according to the motion.
"It seems everyone knows someone who knew 'Lexi' or her mother, or someone involved in this story."
Oral arguments on the motion are scheduled for Tuesday, although they may be delayed to allow for the prosecution rebuttal to Marshall's motion, filed this week.
Eric Millerberg's trial is set for July. He faces a number of charges in the girl's death, including child abuse homicide and unlawful sexual contact with a minor for an alleged sexual relationship with the girl.
Dea Millerberg faces trial in August on unrelated drug charges, with trial yet to be set on the charges filed against her as an accomplice in Rasmussen's death.
She has testified against him, saying he injected the teen with the drugs that killed her. The couple wasn't charged in the death until February 2012, the case complicated by a long, drawn-out autopsy.
Marshall has questioned Dea Millerberg's account of events, for which she has been granted immunity, saying she has reason to lie. The case also features members of Eric Millerberg's white supremacist gang cooperating with police, according to testimony, even leading them to Rasmussen's body.
Rasmussen was last seen the weekend of Sept. 10-11, 2011. When police came looking for her at the Millerberg's home -- her last known whereabouts having been a baby-sitting appointment there -- the Millerbergs said she had left around midnight the night before to meet a friend at a nearby school.
But the couple had already secreted the body by then, according to the allegations, at a site by the Weber River near Taggart in Morgan County.