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Judge won’t seal court records





WaKEENEY — Unwilling to issue a blanket order sealing pleadings in a first-degree murder case in WaKeeney, District Judge Glenn Braun instead agreed to take up the requests piece by piece.

Braun said he’d even be willing to review the documents in-camera — behind closed doors — to determine if they should be kept secret.

The motion to seal documents in the first-degree murder case against Scott R. Bollig first was filed by Assistant Attorney General Jessica G. Domme.

Her March 3 filing said defense attorney Dan Walter, Norton, had no objection.

Walter’s agreement softened by Tuesday’s hearing, although he continued to say he agreed the filings should be sealed and unavailable to the public.

If they’re not, he told Braun, it’s possible there will be a repeat of a recent television episode of the Nancy Grace legal news program.

A reporter for The Hays Daily News was asked to provide commentary for the program, but declined to do so.

Bollig was charged in late February with first-degree murder in connection with the death of the unborn child of Naomi C. Abbott.

An alternative charge of attempted first-degree murder alleges Bollig used a “crushed form of a medication used to terminate an intrauterine pregnancy on food toward the perpetration of the crime of murder in the first degree … ” but failed to do so.

The abortion pill allegedly was sprinkled on a pancake, leading to a misdemeanor charge of distribution of adulterated food. Bollig also is charged with aggravated battery.

Despite his agreement to sealing the pleadings, Walter asked Braun to order the attorney general’s office to remove the criminal complaint against Bollig from its website.

“As far as the complaint,” Braun said, “it’s a little late to unring that bell.”

Citing the public’s right to know, Braun voiced concern about issuing a blanket order sealing records in the case.

Instead, he said, it perhaps should be done on a “piece-by-piece case.” Walter suggested adding a day to the preliminary hearing, tentatively set for May 19.