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Sandusky Trial: Five Men, Four Women Among Nine Jurors Chosen on First Day

by on June 05, 2012 10:50 AM

Updated at 6 p.m.

BELLEFONTE – Nine jurors, five men and four women, were selected on the first day of the child sex abuse trial involving former Penn State football assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

That leaves only seven more jurors to be picked, including three more regular jurors and the four alternates.

Jury selection, once expected to last at least two weeks, could end Wednesday.

Several of the jurors selected Tuesday are Penn State alums or have ties to Penn State or State College.

They include: 

  • A Penn State senior who wore a Penn State archery shirt to jury selection.
  • A retired Penn State professor.
  • A retired school bus driver in her 70s, who said she wanted to protect children during her career.
  • A State College engineer, with no ties to Penn State.

Sandusky's lawyer, Joe Amendola, attempted to strike from the jury some of the Penn State-affiliated individuals, but was denied by Judge Cleland.

Jury selection will resume at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday. The trial can start no sooner than 9 a.m. Monday.

Updated at 1:50 p.m.

BELLEFONTE – The first juror in the Jerry Sandusky case was found 10 minutes into the first round of individual questioning.

She was the first prospective juror questioned. 

Three jurors, numbered 1,3 and 9, were selected by 1 p.m. Tuesday during Phase Three of the first day of jury selection, two middle-aged Caucasian women and one 24-year-old Caucasian man. 

The first woman, a Wal-Mart employee, has two daughters and said she hadn't consumed much of the ongoing Sandusky case coverage.

The man will attend Penn College in the fall for automotive technology.

The second woman and third juror selected is married to a physician who is in the same medical group as John McQueary, Sr., who is a witness in the case. 

She is also a 24-year Penn State football season ticket holder.

When Sandusky's attorney, Joe Amendola, asked that the woman be stricken because of her acquaintance with the McQuearys, Judge Cleland refuted. 

"We're in Centre County. We're in rural Pennsylvania," he said. "There are these (connections) that cannot be avoided."

Updated at 10:50 a.m.

BELLEFONTE – Judge John Cleland started the first phase on the first day of jury selection in the Jerry Sandusky trial announcing that the jury will not be sequestered, and he is trusting them to remain impartial. 

The child sexual abuse trial has officially begun, and is expected to last at least three weeks once arguments begin. Judge Cleland said he wants to complete jury selection by Friday afternoon.

Phase Two

About 36 jurors filed in for Phase Two of jury selection Tuesday, using numbered flash cards to hold up when answering questions from Judge John Cleland.

The prosecution projected a list of about 24 names that could be called as potential witnesses. Later, Sandusky's lead defense attorney Joe Amendola presented a list of about 60 potential witnesses.

Among them:

  • Jay and Sue Paterno (Jay Paterno is a columnist for StateCollege.com)
  • Former PSU President Graham Spanier
  • Mike McQueary and his father, John McQueary Sr.
  • Past and present Second Mile bosses, Jack Raykovitz and Dave Woodle
  • Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Sara Ganim, of the Harrisburg Patriot-News

Among the questions potential jurors were asked: their connection to Penn State, whether or not they were married, had children and where they worked.

Fourteen answered they were employed by or retired from Penn State. Two said they volunteered or fundraised for The Second Mile, the charity Sandusky founded in 1977.

Four people said they personally knew Jerry Sandusky, and two said they personally knew his wife, Dottie.

Five potential jurors were excused for personal issues such as a medical condition or planned vacation.

Phase One

Around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, pool reporters watching jury duty inside the Centre County Courthouse addressed the throng of media waiting outside. Information regarding potential jurors is now available with the sequestration rescinded. 

"Are you going to be sequestered? No – you’re not. Why? All this press, with all this media, 240 reporters here and 30 some trucks, why are we not going to sequester you?

"Because if we’re going to make an important decision in that jury box, I'm going to trust you to not read the newspapers. That’s the deal," Judge Cleland said.

"I'm trusting you. You will agree you will not read the newspapers, watch TV news, will not read blogs, put posts on your Facebook page, will not tweet, will not read other people’s tweets."

"I know it sounds crazy, but it's really important," Judge Cleland said.

"We are going to stay at this process until we find a jury," Cleland said, though there was no indication whether that means 12 impartial jurors and four alternates will necessarily be found within Centre County. 

At least 600 subpoenas were sent out to prospective jurors. The number was whittled down to the 220 who showed up before 8 a.m. Tuesday via an online survey. 

Of the 220 jurors, the overwhelming majority are white, middle-aged to senior citizens. Only one juror was African-American. 

Four prospective jurors showed up in Penn State gear, one wearing a Penn State football White-Out t-shirt. Judge Cleland said an affiliation to Penn State, even as an employee, does not guarantee release from jury duty.  

"I'm not naïve. I know there's a lot of you who would rather not be here and that you have responsibilities, Judge Cleland said. "I'm not going to excuse you for an inconvenience. It has to be a genuine hardship." 

"It could be you have more important responsibilities than being here for this trial, but you're going to have a hard time explaining to me what they are.

"And you’re going to hold in your hands the trust and the confidence of the people of Centre County who you represent. Listen to the evidence, follow the law, think seriously about this case, and do justice."

Dottie Sandusky, Jerry's wife, was not in court Tuesday. The former Penn State football assistant coach's mood reflected that of the overall atmosphere in the courtroom, which started out more lighthearted. 

Sandusky laughed when Judge Cleland laughed, but at one point, the judge stopped to remind everyone in the room why they're there. 

By Phase Two, Sandusky looked worn out, concerned and did not smile. 

"I’m not going to mince any words here," Judge Cleland said. "The defense is charged with sexual assaults against children." 

Following Phase One, where all prospective jurors were given instructions, 40 people at a time will be questioned in Phase Two. In Phase Three, prospective jurors will be questioned one at a time. Then, the judge will excuse those who are not a fit.

Photo Gallery - Jerry Sandusky Trial Jury Selection



Laura Nichols is a StateCollege.com news reporter and @LC_Nichols on Twitter.
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