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A Winona County judge ruled Wednesday to move the trial of Adam Fravel, who is accused of murdering ex-girlfriend Madeline Kingsbury, out of the county.

District Court Judge Nancy Buytendorp cited ongoing media coverage and a public opinion poll supplied by Fravel's lawyers in granting the change in court venue, arguing the community's awareness would make it difficult to try Fravel in the area.

"It is evident to this Court that a fair trial cannot be ensured within this county," Buytendorp wrote in her order.

Attorney Zachary Bauer, representing Fravel, and Winona County attorneys headed up by special prosecutor Phillip Prokopowicz butted heads over whether to move Fravel's trial in pretrial motions made earlier this year. Bauer wrote in a brief this month that Fravel couldn't expect a fair jury as ongoing media coverage would likely keep the issue fresh in residents' minds.

"This is a society where news articles are posted online indefinitely and circulated on social media," Bauer wrote. "Whether fortunately or unfortunately, we are not in a society where materials and publications are altogether forgettable."

Buytendorp denied other motions from Fravel's attorneys to dismiss first-degree murder charges against him and suppress comments Fravel made to police several months before his arrest in June 2023. She also signed off on the prosecution's request to seek harsher sentencing for Fravel if he's convicted based on the deliberate concealment of Kingsbury's body, which was missing for several months.

The judge ordered Winona County to work with state officials to hold the trial elsewhere. It's unclear whether it will affect the scheduling for the trial, which is set to start this fall.

The last time anyone saw Kingsbury alive was when she and Fravel dropped off their children, ages 5 and 2, at day care the morning of March 31.

Fravel was arrested in June shortly after Kingsbury's body was discovered. He has been in the Olmsted County Adult Detention Center since his arrest.

Fravel denied any involvement in Kingsbury's disappearance shortly after she went missing.

Kingsbury's disappearance drew national attention as thousands of people joined the nearly 10-week search. Her body was found in Mabel, Minn., a few miles from property owned by Fravel's parents.