An Effingham County jury will decide the fate of a man accused of raping and murdering a Marion County woman at random.

A Marion County judge last month cleared the way for Neil A. Barrall’s trial to move to Effingham County, a decision that went unopposed by prosecutors in the case.

The 30-year-old Centralia man faces three felony murder counts in the 2007 rape and murder of Michelle Cavaletto, a first-grade teacher from Walnut Hill.

Barrall will be transported back and forth between the Marion County jail, where he is currently being held without bond, for the duration of the trial, according to the Marion County clerk’s office.

Marion County State’s Attorney Matt Wilzbach will continue to prosecute the case after the venue change, and his county will foot the bill to compensate local jurors selected in the trial, according to the clerk’s office.

Authorities investigating the case have indicated they believe Barrall killed Cavaletto randomly, striking her with his Jeep as she walked along a road near her home, then raping and stabbing her to death.

A pretrial hearing is scheduled in the case for March 19 in Marion County. The jury trial is slated to begin in Effingham County on May 3.


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