State, Defense Propose Mitchell County as Venue for New James Exline Sex Abuse Trial

James Exline Jr.

JEFFERSON, Iowa — The attorneys for a Jefferson man accused of sexually abusing his daughter are asking for a judge to be specially assigned, after a mistrial in his case was declared last week. They’ve also made a tentative agreement on a location for the new trial.

Forty-six-year-old James Exline Jr. is charged with two counts of sex abuse for allegedly abusing 12-year-old Paige Exline, his daughter.

A judge declared the mistrial after determining members of the jury pool in Greene County had been researching the case, violating court rules, and would not be able to provide impartial judgement.

According to court documents, the defense and prosecution have tentatively agreed that the trial be moved to Mitchell County to provide a jury pool that has less exposure to pre-trial publicity. A judge will have to approve the agreement.

A scheduling conference is being held Thursday to address the issue of a new trial date and its location.

Paige Exline was killed in a house fire in Guthrie Center in May, along with her 16-year-old cousin Shakiah Cockerham. Two other family members were injured in the fire.

Police say the fire was intentionally set by James Exline’s stepson, Patrick Thompson. He’s charged with two counts of murder, two counts of attempted murder, and one count of arson.

Seven charges of sexual abuse have also been filed against Noah Exline, Paige’s brother, for alleged abuse he committed against her. His trial will be held in 2018.