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The upcoming trial for a Grundy Center man accused of killing an Iowa State Patrol trooper earlier this year may or may not be held in Grundy County.

According to the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, defense attorneys for 42-year-old Michael Lang claim their client can't get a fair trial if the proceedings are held locally. They're asking a judge to move the trial out of the area.

The Courier viewed a written motion filed last week by Lang's lead defense attorney. In his request to move the trail, Aaron Hawbaker wrote that seating a partial jury in Grundy County would be difficult due to extensive media publicity surrounding the case.

Lang is accused of killing Iowa State Patrol Sgt. Jim Smith during an April 9 confrontation with officers. He's charged with first-degree murder, an attempt to commit murder and assault on a peace officer in connection with Smith's death. Lang's trial date has not yet been scheduled.

Courtesy: Iowa Dept. of Public Safety
Courtesy: Iowa Dept. of Public Safety

Court records show that Smith was shot once in the upper body and once in the leg during a standoff at Lang's Grundy Center home. According to a letter of inquiry written by Special Assistant Iowa Attorney General Scott Brown, the standoff began after a Grundy Center reserve police officer attempted to stop Lang for speeding. Lang fled from the reserve officer and a short pursuit occurred. When Lang finally stopped, he exited the vehicle and immediately became verbally and physically aggressive towards the officer, assaulted the officer, and then fled the area.

A short time later, Lang barricaded himself inside his home at 305 G Ave (Iowa Highway 175) in Grundy Center. The standoff with police lasted nearly five hours. Lang is accused of fatally shooting Smith during the standoff.

According to Brown, officers attempted to negotiate Lang's surrender after an armored vehicle was brought to the scene. When negotiations broke down, officers used the armored vehicle to make entry into the home. As they did, Lang began firing at the vehicle. Lang was eventually taken into custody.

Records show Lang was shot three times during the confrontation with police. Three Iowa State troopers and a Hardin County sheriff's deputy shot Lang in the head and chest after he opened fire on them. He spent three weeks in the hospital recovering from the injuries.

Grundy Center Standoff (April 9, 2021)

Iowa State Patrol Sgt. Jim Smith was shot to death on April 9, 2021, during an armed stand-off with a Grundy Center man who allegedly assaulted a policeman earlier that evening. Sgt. Smith, a 27-year veteran of the Iowa State Patrol, was part of a tactical team that entered Lang's home in an attempt to arrest him. Lang is charged with first-degree murder, attempt to commit murder and assault on a peace officer in connection with the standoff.

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