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Jury Selection

NEWS
May 6, 2015 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
A Philadelphia jury of six men and six women was selected Monday to hear the murder trial of a Levittown exterminator charged in the 2013 strangling of Philadelphia doctor Melissa Ketunuti. Jason Smith, 39, is accused of killing Ketunuti, 35, a pediatrician and researcher at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, during a Jan. 21, 2013, argument at her house in 1700 block of Naudain Street in the Graduate Hospital area of Center City. Smith, an independent exterminator hired by a Bucks County firm, was assigned to rid Ketunuti's rowhouse of mice.
NEWS
March 26, 2015 | BY JULIE SHAW, Daily News Staff Writer shawj@phillynews.com, 215-854-2592
DERRICK WHITE, the only defendant sentenced to death by a Philadelphia jury in 2012, was sentenced to life in prison on Monday. White, 24, was expected to face a new penalty-phase hearing this week, but a judge ruled that because of a "technical defect in a legal filing," prosecutors could not seek the death penalty against White, White's new defense attorney, Gary Server, said yesterday. White was 20 years old on May 6, 2010, when he fatally shot Abdul Taylor, 33, because White allegedly wanted to prevent him from testifying as a prosecution witness in another murder case.
NEWS
March 5, 2015 | By Jan Hefler, Inquirer Staff Writer
Last summer, the New Jersey Supreme Court ordered a new trial for Vonte Skinner, saying the admission of rap lyrics he had written before he was arrested on charges of attempted murder prejudiced the jury in his earlier trial. On Tuesday, as his new trial was about to commence, Skinner raised yet another legal issue, telling a judge he wanted to dismiss his lawyer and defend himself. "I'm not going to continue to get railroaded," Skinner angrily told Superior Court Judge Jeanne T. Covert in Mount Holly a few minutes before a jury was to be selected.
NEWS
January 14, 2015 | By Justine McDaniel, Inquirer Staff Writer
Jury selection opened Monday for a Chester County man accused of killing his stepfather in a June 2013 argument sparked when the stepfather asked him to walk the family dog. Deviane Justin Scott, now 21, allegedly shot Joseph Durham, 36, multiple times before fleeing the house naked, police said. Scott is charged with first- and third-degree murder, voluntary and involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, and related charges. Jury selection occurred Monday in front of County Court Judge David Bortner.
NEWS
December 17, 2014 | BY JULIE SHAW, Daily News Staff Writer shawj@phillynews.com, 215-854-2592
AND THEN there was one. At least that's what is expected to happen today in the big federal trial of members of the local Ironworkers union. Four remaining defendants had been expected to head to trial with jury selection starting today, but now three are expected to enter guilty pleas this morning. So that leaves one standing: Ironworkers Local 401's former longtime head, Joseph Dougherty, 73, who is expected to be the lone defendant facing a Jan. 5 trial, after jury selection this week.
NEWS
October 11, 2014 | By Allison Steele, Inquirer Staff Writer
A Montgomery County Court jury on Thursday convicted a King of Prussia man of first-degree murder in the killings of a grandmother and 10-month-old girl, a case that prosecutors said began as a kidnapping plot and spiraled quickly into brutal violence. Raghunandan Yandamuri, 28, a former information-technology worker who came to the United States from India on a work visa, faces the possibility of the death penalty for the 2012 stabbing of Satayrathi Venna, 61, and suffocation of her granddaughter, Saanvi Venna.
NEWS
May 21, 2014 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office would take on new responsibility for prosecuting traffic violations under a proposal announced Monday as part of a series of efforts to root out corruption in the city's troubled Traffic Court. Four city prosecutors and 10 paralegals would be dispatched to handle at least 500 cases a day, replacing a system in which police officers often have served in the prosecutorial role. The shift should bring more uniformity to the outcomes of cases and provide an extra level of scrutiny, Mayor Nutter and District Attorney Seth Williams said in announcing the proposal Monday.
NEWS
May 20, 2014 | BY JULIE SHAW, Daily News Staff Writer shawj@phillynews.com, 215-854-2592
UPDATE: 1:55 p.m.: Jury selection in this case has been postponed to Wednesday. The judge who was presiding over the case, Senior U.S. District Judge Robert Kelly, is unavailable to preside at the trial because of illness, an order filed today by Chief Judge Petrese Tucker said. This case will now be heard by U.S. District Judge Lawrence Stengel. Earlier story below ... IT'S TIME for the judges to be judged. Six former Traffic Court judges and two businessmen will head to federal court in Philadelphia this morning for jury selection in their trial on accusations that they participated in a widespread ticket-fixing scheme.
NEWS
October 23, 2013 | BY MENSAH M. DEAN, Daily News Staff Writer deanm@phillynews.com, 215-568-8278
AXEL BARRETO made headlines Jan. 10, 2012, when he stormed out the back door of his Juniata Park home, and shot up a Toyota Corolla containing seven teenage boys who had come to fight one of his three stepsons. Three of the boys in the car died, one survived a gunshot to the neck and three were uninjured. The car had been circling the block before the shooting. Barreto, 32, goes on trial this week and could receive the death penalty if his jury finds him guilty of first-degree murder.
NEWS
October 2, 2013 | By Robert Moran, Inquirer Staff Writer
A 36-year-old Gloucester County man pleaded guilty Monday to attempted murder for stabbing his then-girlfriend in 2011, prosecutors said. Jacob Rodriguez stabbed Brittany L. Hickman, 28, in the throat, lungs, and stomach during an argument on June 22, 2011, in their West Deptford home. Rodriguez also pleaded guilty to two counts of endangering two children - the couple's 2-year-old daughter and Hickman's 4-year-old son - who were in the apartment at the time. Hickman stumbled to a neighbor, who called police to the Red Bank Run Townhomes.
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