Jury selection continues today for Drew Peterson's trial on charges that he murdered his third wife,
Five men and three women were seated late Monday after 12 hours of questioning. By midday today, all 12 jurors had been selected, but four alternates were still to be selected. The pool of more than 200 jurors was impaneled nearly three years ago and told to avoid all media coverage of the Peterson case, an order some would-be jurors admitted they ignored.
Check here throughout the day for continual updates from the courtroom.
3:42 p.m. Peterson jury selection complete
The final jury has selection has been completed, with 12 jurors and 4 alternates. Opening statements are scheduled for July 31.
3:30 p.m. Jurors include student, bus driver,
The 12 jurors and one alternate selected for the Peterson jury have been identified only by number in court. Their answers to attorney questions provide a few other details. Some of the jurors include:
A radio broadcasting major at Columbia College who lives with his parents.
A Lockport man who has been married for 15 years.
A male plant manager for a printing company.
A man from Plainfield who once owned a construction company.
A secretary who describes herself as an "avid poet." She divorced in the 1990s and wrote on her questionnaire "all divorces are unhappy" in response to a question about the nature of the breakup. She likes to read true crime stories.
A crossing guard from Lockport who said she likes to read mysteries and usually is able to solve them before the end of the book. Asked if she would try to do the same in the Peterson trial, she responded, "No. You have to wait 'til the end."
A Joliet bus driver who lives with his parents.
A reader of two daily newspapers who she said she instructed her husband to scan them for news of the Peterson case before she looks at them. "And if there's anything in them I shouldn't be reading, he destroys the paper."
A New Lenox woman who stated on her questionnaire that she reads the National Enquirer, but when asked whether she believes what's in the tabloid, she smiled and said, "No."
A divorced man who was a law school student for about a year and a half before dropping out.
Drew Peterson was allowed to address the second batch of about 40 jurors this afternoon.
"Good day ladies and gentlemen," he said after being introduced by his attorney, Joel Brodsky. "As they said, my name is Drew Peterson. I'm the defendant in this case. I'd like to thank you for your time, and wish you all a good day."
On Monday, a cordial Peterson told the first group of jurors: "Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, I'm Mr. Peterson. Have a good day."
1:15 p.m. 6 men, 6 women as jurors, 1 of 4 alternates chosen
Six men and six women have been selected as jurors, Drew Peterson's lawyers said. One of four alternate jurors has been selected. Even if jury selection concludes today, opening statements are not scheduled to begin until July 31.
Judge Burmila has brought in groups of about 40 potential jurors each day so that all 200-plus potential jury members don't have to suffer through long days at the court house. Jurors enter the courtroom individually, and are questioned first by the defense team and then by the prosecution.
After they've been questioned, attorneys can offer reasons why a juror should be dismissed for cause, with counter-argument by the opposing side, or both sides can agree to dismiss a juror.
Then, the process begins to resemble a fantasy football draft, as the lawyers make their "pre-emptory challenges," automatically striking the juror, with no reason given nor questions asked. Each side has seven challenges, and as of the end of jury selection Monday night, the defense had used four and the prosecution five.
The legal teams huddle over the questionnaires and their notes, comparing potential jurors in hushed tones. The judge names four randomly selected jurors as a "panel" and lawyers can move to strike one or more jurors from a panel, or accept all four. If a juror is stricken, another juror is named at random until the full four-member panel has been filled out. The opposing side then gets to strike or accept the members of the panel.
A total of 16 jurors will be selected, 12 jurors and four alternates, though all 16 jurors will be in the jury box for the duration of the trial, and the four alternates won't know they are alternates until they are dismissed by the judge before the start of deliberations.
Twelve people have been selected for the jury, 8 on Monday and 4 today. There still are four jury alternates to be selected.
Drew Peterson is wearing a blue suit coat with brass buttons, gray slacks and a striped, plaid necktie. Defense lawyers said Peterson has slimmed down during his lengthy stay in the Will County Jail and his pants did not fit, forcing a short delay while a better-fitting pair of slacks was located.
Peterson is sporting a nicely fitting blue suit coat, gray pants and a plaid tie. Attorneys so far this morning have questioned five potential jurors. Judge Edward Burmila said he does not expect today's court proceedings to go as late as Monday's, which ended after 9 p.m.