WESTERVILLE, Ohio (WDTN) – Jury selection entered its next phase Monday in the Quentin Smith murder trial. Smith is accused of killing two Westerville police officers responding to a domestic disturbance call last year.
This week is all about weeding out people who have strong opinions about the death penalty one way or the other and to figure out if they can set aside any preconceived notions about what they think happened that day.
Quentin Smith was in court Monday getting his first look at the jurors who could end up deciding his fate. They were brought in six at a time to answer questions the judge and attorneys have about the answers they provided on the questionnaire they filled out Friday.
Judge Richard Frye of the Franklin County Common Pleas Court said, “Juror number five, you said that in respect to the case that we are here about and the deaths of officer Morelli and officer Joering last year, that you remember the story on the news and how the community reacting but don’t recall major details.”
Other areas covered were how the legal system works procedurally in terms of capital punishment trials.
Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien said, “Without knowing it, said you would follow the Ohio law that I just explained, that the death penalty is appropriate in some murder cases but not all, and that’s what we want jurors to do.”
And if they could follow the law and the instructions of the judge. Defense Attorney Frederick Benton, Jr. asked, “Would you be able to set aside any thoughts that you may have formed regarding this case and decide this case based on the facts presented during trial?”
Before things even got started Monday one juror was eliminated from the pool due to strong beliefs they held on the death penalty – which they shared on their questionnaire.
The jurors that make it through this week will return next week to begin the final phase of jury selection.
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