Donald Persson's defense attorney plans to renew efforts to move his client's child rape trial out of Davis County, now that Persson's three-month flight from justice is over.

Walter F. Bugden Jr. argues that local news coverage makes prospects dim for getting an unbiased jury in Davis County."It would make the most sense to move it to a larger county like Salt Lake," he said. "In a big county like Salt Lake, we'll have a much better chance of finding a jury that's untainted by the media."

In August, Bugden asked 2nd District Judge Rodney S. Page for a change of venue, which was turned down. Bugden then took his motion before the Utah Supreme Court, but justices denied the appeal on Sept. 21.

That was the same day police discovered that Persson, who had been free on $150,000 bail, had disappeared from his home.

Bugden said intense news coverage of the search for Persson, who finally was arrested Jan. 11 in Tulsa, Okla., strengthens his case for a change of venue. He plans to resubmit the motion at a Feb. 2 pretrial hearing.

Persson, 54, is charged with first-degree rape of a child, second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor and third-degree dealing in material harmful to a minor. His trial is scheduled Feb. 17, and he also is to be arraigned on a flight-to-avoid-prosecution charge next week.

One person anxious to get the court proceedings underway is bail bondsman Gary Walton, who put up Persson's $150,000 and was in jeopardy of losing it if he wasn't captured.

Last month Page ruled the bail would be forfeited if Persson was not found by March. Walton now expects the court to release the bond back to him.

After he was returned to Utah Thursday afternoon, Persson told reporters he fled the state because he had been intimidated during a visit at his home by Walton and an associate he described as a "gorilla."

Walton said he and an employee did visit Persson at his home not long before his disappearance, but he denies any threats were made.

Walton believes Persson's flight had been planned for some time.

He said his investigation found that in late July Persson flew to Denver, Colo., where he obtained a driver's license under the alias Ervin Thomas Choate.

Walton said Persson telephoned his office manager Thursday, even jokingly asking if the company would post his bail again. Walton said Persson maintains he planned to return to Utah for trial and was preparing to do so when he was arrested by the FBI.

The bondsman said Persson's mistake was buying a car in Texas under the Choate name, which a tipster had given to authorities. A police detective in Sapulpa, a Tulsa suburb, discovered Persson's identity by checking the registration of the car.