JACKSON COUNTY, MO (KCTV) -- David Jungerman’s attorneys say he can’t get a fair trial in a Jackson County courtroom due to media coverage of the case, and the fact that his alleged motive to kill began after he lost a civil case in the same courthouse.
In October 2017, prosecutors say David Jungerman shot and killed attorney Tom Pickert outside his Brookside home.
That was one day after Jungerman was served with court papers from a $5.75 million lawsuit Pickert won against him for shooting a homeless man Jungerman found on his property.
When Pickert questioned Jungerman during deposition for that case, Jungerman laughed about the shooting.
“That's pretty good from the hip, isn't it? That’s lucky shooting isn't it,” said Jungerman.
Jungerman also made headlines when he was charged with assault for pointing a gun at a man and a pregnant woman at a recycling center because he believed they stole from him. He was also cited for property damage for keying a woman’s vehicle because he reportedly didn’t like the way she parked.
Jungerman’s attorneys say media coverage has been, “extensive and prejudicial.” They hired a political science professor from Saint Louis University to design a survey. Nationally known pollster John Zogby of John Zogby Strategies then conducted a poll.
The poll had a sample size of 546 people. According to Jungerman’s defense, 31.6% recalled reading or hearing about the case when given superficial details. His defense team says when given additional details, 35.3% recall the case and, “virtually 100% of these individuals hold an opinion that Mr. Jungerman is ‘probably guilty’ to definitely guilty.”
KCTV5 News spoke to several local attorneys who say professional polling in criminal cases is not extremely common in the metro.
“Because of the cost, not a lot of defendants have the financial resources to hire a professional polling firm,” said Branden Bell with Morgan Pilate Law Firm.
Jackson County prosecutors want more information about the poll. In a response filed with the court, they questioned whether the polling is, “reliable or compelling.”
“The most important question that I imagine the poll didn’t' ask is whether despite what you've heard in the media, if you were picked to sit on the jury could you listen to the evidence and be fair,” said Bell.
Jungerman’s murder trial is scheduled for January of next year.