Monahan jury prospects tell judge why they can’t serve
FORT EDWARD – Jury selection starts Wednesday after 500 prospective jurors were screened in the trial of Kevin Monahan.
About 100 jurors went before the judge, prosecution and defense, because of something they wrote on their questionnaire.
Having work or personal commitments, or already having made up their minds about this case were some of the reasons why people were excused from serving on the jury of the Washington County man accused of shooting and killing a woman who had mistakenly gone up his driveway last April.
Monahan, 66, has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of Kaylin Gillis.
Tuesday was the second day of a screening process of prospective jurors who had answered a particular question on a questionnaire that they filled out Friday, saying they had an issue that could affect their ability to serve as a fair and impartial juror in this case, which could last as long as three weeks.
NewsChannel 13 requested and was granted access to the screening of prospective jurors. One at a time, people were called into the jury room, where Judge Adam Michelini and the prosecution and defense teams were seated a large conference table.
Some people said they had already made up their minds about the case through watching television news or reading information online about the case.
“Do you already have a belief as to whether Mr. Monahan is guilty?” asked Judge Michelini of one prospective juror.
“Yes,” replied the woman.
When asked if any testimony would be able to sway her opinion, she said no. Then, she was excused.
“That was quick. All that time for that,” she remarked upon leaving the jury room.
Some people did say they did not believe everything they had heard about the case on the news. They said they would keep an open mind. Those potential jurors were kept.
One potential juror made a comment about there being two sides to the story, which later prompted an exchange between First Assistant District Attorney Christian Morris and defense attorney Arthur Frost.
Morris was concerned about his line of questioning about whether the juror could make a fair decision if there was information not presented at trial. That implied that there was some evidence that would be favorable to Monahan that would not be presented. Frost said he did not mean to imply that. The prospective juror was asked to go out of the room briefly while they clarified this issue before questioning resumed.
Some people were excused for personal reasons, including a woman who runs a dairy farm with her husband and in-laws and a woman who is primary caregiver for her 9-year-old grandchild.
Other prospective jurors were asked about whether they knew certain people who may be called as witnesses. In a smaller county such as Washington County, some people may know of certain people, even if they do not socialize with them.
Some potential jurors were asked about if they had any interaction with the criminal justice system. They said they had relatives who either were a victim of a crime or had been convicted of a crime, but said they would be fair.