Under the vigilant gaze of federal marshals and court-security personnel, the 150 or so prospective jurors spent most of the morning quietly filling out questionnaires in a large first-floor courtroom at the U.S. Courthouse at Sixth and Market Streets.
Prospective jurors, for example, were asked whether they knew any members of the defense or prosecution, whether they had read or seen news accounts about the case and whether they had any firm opinions about the case.
During the afternoon, Newcomer asked general questions of the panel members, conferred with attorneys and defendants and dismissed about a dozen prospective jurors who had specific reasons for being unable to serve.
This morning, the winnowing is expected to continue as the defense and the prosecution pick a jury from the panel of about 130 prospective jurors. The trial is expected to last five to 10 weeks.
Newcomer has decided not to sequester the jury, but prospective jurors were informed yesterday that they may be housed at a hotel during deliberations.
The first trial of the six defendants - John Wilson, James Cattalo, Richard Jumper, Ronald Giongo, Frank Hilt and David Grove - ended in a mistrial in March after the jury became deadlocked on the charges.