By Kelli Stopczynski
WSBT TV Reporter
6:05 PM EDT, May 16, 2012
A 14 member jury is scheduled to be sworn in Thursday morning before opening statements begin in the Terry Sturgis murder trial. Judge Jane Woodward Miller seated the jury Tuesday, after two days of trying to find unbiased jurors. All but one of the 14 went through individual interviews before the "normal" jury selection process began to see how pre-trial publicity has impacted them.
It’s made up of nine women and five men – including a banker, nurse, nursing student, aMcDonald's restaurant manager, drug counselor and several parents – who will sit in the courtroom during days of testimony and evidence presentation in the trial.
Of the 12 jurors and 2 alternates, only one of them – a 21-year-old man – said he had not heard anything about Sturgis or the case before arriving for jury selection.
Another man told the judge one of his family members gives Sturgis dialysis treatments. During jury selection, he said he’d feel pressure from friends and family to rule one way or another but that would not sway his ability to be unbiased.
Prosecuting attorney Joel Gabrielse told potential jurors during the selection process Tuesday, “This is not going to be a pleasant trial. You're going to see things and hear things you'll probably wish you didn't. The question is...can you do it?"
Sturgis is accused of killing his 10-year-old son, Tramelle, and abusing two of his other children in their Washingon Street home last November.
Several of the 14 jurors said the case made them uncomfortable.
“Children are innocent. I have a hard time with this,” said one juror.
“I’m not asking if you have a hard time with this,” replied Woodward Miller. “I am asking if you can set aside what you've heard about the case and make your decision based on what happens in this courtroom."
Another juror mentioned November 4 – the day Tramelle died - is one of her son's birthdays. Another said he has five children, ranging from 2 to 22 years old, but he said he believes he can be impartial.
The judge called twice the normal number of potential jurors for this trial because it's been such a highly publicized case. A total of 120 potential jurors were called and 81 ended up showing for jury selection.
The judge had also set aside Wednesday for jury selection, but it wasn't needed since the jury was seated Tuesday evening.
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