Posted: Thursday, 07 April 2011 1:52PM

Selection Of Judge Is Next Step In Nibbe Murder Case



MANKATO -- The selection of a judge is the next step in the Jennifer Nibbe murder case.

Nibbe was formally arraigned today on a Grand Jury indictment of First Degree Premeditated Murder and Second Degree Murder with Intent.

Jennifer Nibbe, who was 33 at the time of the shooting, called 9-1-1 the morning of August 31, 2010, claiming an intruder shot her 26-year-old husband James Mervin Nibbe. Despite her claims of an intruder, investigators maintained that the incident was "isolated" and that there was "no threat to the public at large." Two weeks later, Jennifer Nibbe was in custody and made her first court appearance.

Today, the defense waived the seven day requirement to schedule an omnibus hearing.

The next step is to now assign the case to a judge, a random process that is done by court administration.

However that outcome was discussed in court today, with Assistant County Attorney Pat McDermott expressing his preference for Judge Bradley Walker.

Walker presided over today's hearing.

Judge Krista Jass worked in the public defenders officer prior to her appointment to the bench earlier this year.
According to McDermott, Jass has expressed to him a possible conflict.

Blue Earth County's other judge, Kurt Johnson, is already assigned to the Joel Munt murder case, with a pre-trial set for July.

McDermott says this is the first time in his 17 year career that Blue Earth County has had two homicides active at the same time.

In court, Judge Walker agreed that he would likely end up assigned to the Nibbe case. Once the notice of assignment is filed, Walker says an omnibus hearing can be scheduled. Walker indicated he expected the judge would  be assigned within the next 48 hours.

Nibbe's attorney, public defender Rich Hillesheim, says he will not be making any demands for a speedy trial.

Hilliesheim told the judge that he is still waiting for some pieces of evidence to return from the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Judge Walker asked if setting a hearing date would help speed up the process at the BCA. After the hearing, McDermott says he doesn't believe any of the pending evidence would prevent the case from moving forward to the omnibus hearing.

Another piece of evidence Hillesheim is still waiting for is a transcript of the recent grand jury proceedings. McDermott says those are in the process of being transcribed.

McDermott says he's hopeful the next hearing will be scheduled within a month.


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