Judge approves venue change for trial of admitted Santa Fe HS shooter

SANTA FE, Texas (FOX 26) — A judge has granted a change of venue for the admitted Santa Fe High School shooter. The trial will now be moved outside of Galveston County, however no decision has been made on where the trial will be relocated.

Galveston County District Judge John Ellisor approved the change of venue on Wednesday. 

The formal order for the change of venue will have to be issued by Friday. The trial's new date and location will ultimately be up to the judge to determine.

All 23 victims' families apparently started receiving calls from the Galveston County District Attorney's Office after 2 p.m. Wednesday, informing them of the decision. 

For Sheri Shubert, the news was shocking and disappointing. Her 17-year-old son Rome was shot in the back of the head in May 2018 and survived.

"It’s a slap in the face," said Shubert. "It’s like they’re getting what they want. You know, why does he get what he wants?"

"It’s inconvenient on all of us to have to uproot our lives after he’s already uprooted our lives so much and caused so much harm and so much change," added Shubert. "I just feel like anywhere he goes people are going to know about this and had heard about this and have heard about him."

While many of the other 23 victims' families may have similar sentiments to Shubert, for Steve Perkins, the judges’ decision was a sigh of relief

"We would’ve gone through the process and the very first thing they’re going to do in the appeals is going to claim foul and start the whole thing all over again," said Steve. His wife of almost 30 years, Ann Perkins, was one of the ten people who were killed.

Steve said the last nine months have been agonizing for him and his family as they wait for the trial’s completion to get the closure they desperately need.

"I’m kept totally in the dark, I don’t know anything," said Steve. "I don’t know where my wife was shot. I don’t know how long she lived after she was shot. All I know is my wife was shot and she’s dead and I have buried her. That’s all I know."

Flo Rice was substituting in that art classroom on May 18 when she was shot five times in the leg. 

"I had a broken femur and nerve damage and PTSD on top of it," said Rice. "I'm still recovering and going to therapy and rehab every day."

Flo and her husband, Scot Rice, have been channeling their emotions into activism, lobbying for legislative change at the Texas State Capitol.

Scot said Wednesday's venue change is simply delaying justice for the families affected.

"It's not a 'whodunit,'" said Scott Rice. "It’s not that the evidence is stacked against him. His crimes are stacked up. And there is no defense. All their doing is prolonging this and torturing the families even more from the torture we’ve been through for nine months."

While the trial’s looming date and place may continue to haunt the victims and their families, they said it ultimately won’t make a difference. 

"Let’s do it and get it right the first time because I don’t believe there’s going to be any difference no matter where you go with any jury," said Flo. "It’s going to be the same."