Adam Fravel's change of venue motion granted in Madeline Kingsbury case

A Winona County judge has granted Adam Fravel's motion to move his murder trial in the death of Madeline Kingsbury out of the county. 

Fravel is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Kingsbury. Kingsbury's body was found in June 2023 in Fillmore County, after a months-long search in southern Minnesota. Fravel was arrested hours after the discovery and charged two days later on June 9, 2023.

Judge Nancy Buytendorp granted Fravel's motion to change his trial's venue, citing pre-trial publicity and community involvement in the case as reasons to move it out of Winona County, according to court documents filed on Wednesday. 

"Considering the extensive pretrial publicity and the substantial involvement of the Winona community in this case, a change of venue is warranted. The Defendant's motion for such a change is hearby granted," Buytendrop wrote in her motion. "It is evident to this court that a fair trial cannot be ensured within this county."

The court will work to identify a suitable county that can accommodate the case. 

In January, Fravel's attorneys filed motions to dismiss the case and move the trial out of Winona County. In briefings filed in May, Fravel's legal team said it commissioned a survey that showed the vast majority of Winona County residents (89%) were aware of the case and, of that group, 74% had "formed an opinion that [Fravel] caused the death of Madeline Kingsbury." In response, the prosecution pointed to the decision in the Derek Chauvin trial for the murder of George Floyd – which was not moved out of Hennepin County.

A trial date has not yet been set in the Fravel case.