• Home

Jury Selection Continues in Cal Harris Murder Trial

Posted:
Day four of jury selection continued in Schoharie County today. Harris is on trial for the third time for the alleged murder of his wife Michele Harris in September of 2001.

In the past four days of jury selection a total of 12 jurors and 2 alternates have been selected.

Our Samantha Bleiweis was in Schoharie County court today and has more.

72 potential jurors reported this morning, and out of those 72 potential jurors, four more were selected to serve on the jury--or as alternates.

After Judge Bartlett informed potential jurors that the trial could take between 6 and 8 weeks, many approached the bench to be excused, and over half of the potential jury pool was excused. The judge then asked the remaining individuals if any had seen or read media coverage about this trial or Cal Harris.
Those who said they had were then individually questioned by the prosecution, defense, and Judge Bartlett.

15 people went through that process, with four asked to stay through the entirety of the day, and eleven excused.

19 jurors were left to begin questioning and were placed in the jury box.

Judge Bartlett first questioned jurors about their backgrounds, and if their personal experiences would cause them to keep them from deciding this case based solely on the evidence and the law provided to them.

Tioga County District Attorney Kirk Martin then questioned potential jurors, asking if they could decide this case based solely on the evidence they would see and testimony from the witness stand.

He also advised potential jurors that the prosecution would not be able to produce Michele Harris' body, as it has never been recovered by police.

He asked prospective jurors if they would be able to deliver a verdict of guilty if he proves his case beyond a reasonable doubt without a body or a murder weapon. Martin also asked potential jurors if they could put aside any sympathy they may feel for the defendant when it comes to delivering a verdict.

Defense Attorney Donna Aldea then questioned potential jurors.
She asked them to examine what they think a person who has been innocent and charged with a crime would look like-explaining that there could be a range of responses.

She also asked if potential jurors would take an expert witnesses' testimony as "gospel" just because of a prestigious title they may have.

Aldea stressed to potential jurors that it is their common sense judgment that stands between the government and the accused.
She also echoed Martin's sentiments asking the potential jury about sympathy--but instead for those of Michele Harris' family.
She asked potential jurors if they would be able to deprive Michele's family members of a guilty verdict, if they find Mr.
Harris not guilty.

Jury selection continues tomorrow at 10 am and we will have a full report starting on our 6:00 newscast.