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County Attorney Candidates Speak on the Thomas Case

By Aaryn Frazier, August 17, 2018

In the case of young Cloe Chandler’s death, her mother Kelsie Thomas has pled not-guilty and waived her right to a speedy trial, but both candidates for county attorney say there will be limited effects on the case during the election in November.

Both Gary Oldenburger and Reuben Neff spoke with Ottumwa Radio about the upcoming election and its effects or lack thereof on current cases; especially the Thomas case.

“There will not be a plea offer made in the Thomas case, it is a horrible crime, our evidence is strong, and I don’t feel she has any viable defenses,” Oldenburger said.

The election will be on November 6, and both men are sure of themselves and the public’s views on them. Oldenburger appeared confident when asked about any impacts on cases he is currently planned to prosecute.

“Only in the fact that when I am re-elected, the case will be prosecuted by someone experienced in prosecuting murder cases,” said Oldenburger to Ottumwa Radio. “Whereas if my opponent were to win, it would be prosecuted by someone who is experienced in being a defense attorney for murderers but who has never prosecuted a murder case.”

While he has not prosecuted a murder case, Neff said during a campaigning stop at The Vine Coffee House that the current county attorney’s office combined doesn’t have half the trial experience that he has had in his eight years. He also told Ottumwa Radio he has the confidence of local law enforcement, and that is half the battle.

According to Oldenburger, the pre-trial conference is set for October 29 on the Thomas case, and the actual trial is set for November 6. But, he says, is isn’t likely the trial will actually happen that soon.

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