Check Of Potential Jury Shows Many Were Related
RALEIGH, Miss. (AP) _ It took some doing, but lawyers in a murder trial managed to pick a Smith County jury made up of people who weren’t related.
Defense attorney Jim Dukes asked if any of the 83 prospective jurors were related by blood or marriage, and about half the people in the courtroom stood up. ″We’re going to have a family reunion here in a minute,″ Dukes, of Hattiesburg, said Monday.
Prospective jurors included a husband and wife, a father and daughter, a mother and son, several sets of brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles and numerous cousins - some of them as far removed as third or fourth.
″I would say this would be unusual. I don’t remember this ever happening before,″ said Circuit Clerk Billy Tadlock.
A total of 258 people were summoned from Smith County as prospective jurors for the trial of Cecil Green, who is charged with killing a police officer on Nov. 1, 1988. Many of the 258 had already been excused for other reasons by the time Dukes asked about relatives Monday.
Dukes asked the prospects if kinship with other jurors would sway their thinking.
″If we go in opposite directions, I might want to know why. Sure, it would be difficult to do - vote opposite ways,″ said Alice Evans, whose son and brother were also prospective jurors.
″Put it like this. We don’t communicate that much,″ prospective juror James G. McCullum said of his wife, Brenda S. McLaurin, as the entire courtroom broke into laughter. ″She runs her own life and I run mine,″ he said.
McLaurin and Evans were among the 12 selected for jury service. Their relatives went home.
Evans is not related to the prosecutor in the case, District Attorney Bob Evans, who said he found one of his own cousins in the jury pool.
″She left early,″ he said.