WARSAW — After close to two hours of voir dire (questioning) in the selection of jurors for the murder trial of Brandon Thomas Woody and Kyle David DeHart, six individuals have been selected to serve with seven being released.
Woody and DeHart are being tried in the murder on Feb. 19, 2015, of Tara Thornburg and Josh Knisley in Syracuse.
The second round of jury selection began at approximately 11:40 a.m. in Kosciusko Circuit Court.
The jury selection is being conducted with 13 members appearing for selection at a time. Standard questions of knowledge of any parties involved, knowledge of any witnesses, location of the crime, personal conflicts, ability to keep an open mind, if he/she feels a person arrested must be guilty, previous knowledge of details of the case, if he/she has read or heard about the case, and weigh the verdict based on the evidence are being asked of each juror.
Almost half of the first set of jurors noted hearing about the case through various media means: print, internet and social media.
Prosecutor Dan Hampton, and defense counsels Scott Lennox, representing Woody; and Larry Hanson, representing DeHart, were given an opportunity to question potential jurors.
Their questions ranged in the ability to focus, burden of proof, ability to separate what heard prior to the trial and what was presented, presumption of innocence and illustrations used to explain reasonable and beyond reasonable doubt. Counsel also made sure jurors understood the fact a defendant does not need to prove his innocence nor testify. Additionally, being uncomfortable in serving on a jury due to the nature of the case — murder — was asked.
All jurors were instructed this was actually two cases being tried as one.
Prior to the start of the jury selection, both mothers of the victims and several other family members were advised they could not be allowed in the courtroom, due to the fact they had been subpoenaed.
Unlike normal business days, security was tightened at the justice building. Every person entering the justice building through the front door, even attorneys, were required to go through the metal detectors and cell phones completely prohibited. In the courtroom, no one was allowed to leave or enter while court was in session and each person subject to being scanned upon re-entering the courtroom.