PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Jury selection could take up to two weeks in the case of a Northeastern Pennsylvania man charged with shooting two state troopers two years ago, killing one of them. Pre-trial publicity has caused that jury to come from Chester County.
Eric Frein could be sentenced to death, if convicted in the murder of Trooper Bryon Dickson and the wounding of colleague Alex Douglass outside their Pike County barracks. Defense attorney Michael Weinstein talks about the kind of juror he wants on this case.
“We’re looking for fairness. We’re looking for jurors that can keep an open mind. Compassion.”
But Weinstein conceded to KYW Newsradio that finding those people won’t be easy.
“I think it’s hard to do in all capital cases, just like it’s probably hard for the DA to find the kind of jurors he wants,” Weinstein added.
And it will be a hardship for the 12 jurors and 6 alternates selected. They’ll be sequestered in the town of Milford for upwards of 7 weeks when the trial starts next month, a fact not lost on Pike County District Attorney Raymond Tomkin.
“There are some hardships that may come and the court will have to make those decisions on those individual juror,” Tomkin said. “But it is a duty of citizenship and we’ll be asking people to come do their duty as citizens in this case and serve on this jury.”
Jurors will be able to return home on weekends during the trial.
On day one of general jury selection, which brought out 104 people, 79 said they had been exposed to the Frein case through radio, TV, papers and the internet. 41 indicated they had issues with handing down a death sentence or life in prison, if it came to that.
Despite those claims, Pike County Judge Gregory Chelak dismissed only 9 people. The other 95 will return for more intense questioning next week.
A second general juror panel has been summoned to the Chester County Justice Center on Friday.