Jury Selected For Laney Case - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

3/25/04 - Tyler

Jury Selected For Laney Case

  The jury is selected. The trial of a Chapel Hill mother accused of stoning her three children, killing two of them, will begin as planned on Monday. Almost immediately after the jury was announced, Judge Cynthia Kent told them they wouldn't get to go home. She sequestered them for the length of the trial. The nature of the case, and the intense media interest surrounding it, were major factors in Judge Kent's decision to isolate the jury. Judge Kent has been very careful from day one when indictments were issued against Deana Laney, to keep lawyers involved from saying anything that could taint a potential jury pool, or lead to a mistrial. And, throughout jury questioning yesterday and today, Judge Kent made it very clear, she wanted jury members who were not influenced by things they had heard or read about in the media.

"The court has just gone an extra step to make sure that there is not any outside influence on the jurors, as far as things they might hear or see during the course of the trial," said Court Apointed Information Officer Christi Kennedy.

Judge Kent is going to great lengths with this jury to keep them from discussing this case with anyone. She told them, deputies will be listening in on phone calls jurors make to family members. Female deputies will be assigned to the women, male deputies to the men, to be involved in almost every action jurors make over the next couple of weeks. One juror said he was expecting a surprise birthday party from his family on Saturday. Judge Kent said that now would not happen. Another man inquired about attending his son's baseball game on Saturday. That also, probably, will not happen.

The jury is made up of nine men and five women. Three of the men are military veterans. At least one of the women is the wife of a pastor. Only one of the jurors picked knew nothing about Deanna Laney or this case before jury selection. Instead, the lawyers in the case seemed to favor jurors who knew some aspects of the case, but were still willing to keep an open mind.

The trial is scheduled to begin Monday morning. Judge Kent told the jury she expects the trial to last a week to a week and a half.

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