Superior Court Judge Donald A. McCartin broke the news to jurors in the Randy Steven Kraft murder trial Wednesday that they will be sequestered during their deliberations. He also told them that the target date for that should be mid-April.
Kraft, 43, a Long Beach computer consultant, is on trial in Santa Ana charged with 16 murders. If convicted, his case would go into a penalty phase in which prosecutors say they could present evidence that Kraft committed 29 other murders in Southern California, Oregon and Michigan.
McCartin told the jurors that they will have single rooms--instead of two jurors sharing a room--in a nice hotel and will be allowed visitors on weekends.
“We rarely sequester anymore, but in the abundance of caution . . . I believe this is the best way to assure you won’t be exposed to any news media publicity during your deliberations,” McCartin told them.
The judge told the seven alternate jurors that he will place them on call during the deliberations but warned them that they might have to return if the trial moves into a penalty phase.
The judge also told the jurors that they could have a 4-day Easter holiday next week, with testimony presented only on Monday. When they return March 27, the judge said, he will listen to any of the members of the 10-woman, 2-man jury for whom sequestering might pose a hardship.
The judge added that the jurors could set their own timetable during the week on how long each day they want to deliberate but that he will not permit deliberations on Saturdays or Sundays.
McCartin joked with the jurors about the sequestering arrangements, at first telling them that they would be staying at the Bates Motel, the fictional motel made famous in the “Psycho” movies. He also joked that those who are unmarried will be permitted to place boyfriends or girlfriends on their visitors’ list.
“But let’s try to keep this to the immediate family,” he said. “I don’t want you inviting your ninth cousins to the hotel for the weekend.”