Of 85 potential jurors asked to report for possible service in the retrial of Glen Gore for first-degree murder charges in the death of Debra Sue Carter, 32 remain. Today prosecutors and defense attorneys are expected to narrow the list to 12 jurors and four alternates.

Debra Sue Carter’s brutally raped and lifeless body was discovered December 8, 1982 in Ada. Originally convicted in the crime were Ron Williamson and Dennis Fritz. DNA testing later exonerated them after they had spent years in prison. DNA testing also demonstrated that Gore had been at the scene and he was eventually convicted of the crime.

In August 2005, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals ruled Gore was denied a fair trial.

As jury selection continued, Richard M. Wintory, lead prosecutor, said, “We’re looking for folks that get along with each other, are respectful of others, willing to listen, enough experience in life, their values and beliefs to be able to make decisions. They need to have enough sense of duty to be willing to decide a hard thing for people. We don’t have Debbie Carter here to speak, that’s intangible, the defendant is present and that is something the jury can see.”

David Smith, Norman, attorney for the defense, said prior to the selection process on Tuesday, “We (the defense) are looking for people who don’t have their minds made up, that will listen and be fair. The jury selection is probably the most important processes of the trial, tedious, but real important. I’m glad to have a second chance to defend Glen.”

Seating for the prosecution and the defense is immediately in front of the judge’s bench facing the prospective jurors with barely room to turn around. A circle of chairs was arranged in front the jury box and the audience benches. ’

Gore wiped his forehead and straightened his tie when the judge instructed the jury concerning the presumed innocence of the defendant until proven otherwise. By the end of the second day 63 had been called to the center ring for questioning. The majority of social talk among those waiting for the process to begin included catching up with friends, discussions of what they would rather be doing, or what it would cost them in missed work. The judge made it clear nothing about the trial was to be discussed either with each other or with anyone else.

Landrith did the first round of elimination until he had 32 legally qualified prospective jurors before the prosecution began the next round of elimination.

One issue prospective jurors were questioned about was whether or not they could decide punishment if the defendant were found guilty of first degree murder. The three punishment options for a guilty verdict are: death, life in prison without the possibility of parole, or life in prison.

Wintory challenged the 32 candidates for jury duty to consider that their job as jurors was going to be hard. Some evidence is considered circumstantial but is still allowed to be presented at trial, some is direct. It has been 25 years since the crime was committed and the methods of evidence collection and investigations have improved greatly. Jurors will be challenged to get past judging the presenters and weigh the evidence. There were some lost opportunities 25 years ago. Some witness testimony was collected immediately after discovering the crime scene and some of the witness were interrogated multiple times over the years, so the jurors would need to understand the reliance on notes by some witnesses whose memories of events had diminished over the last 25 years.

Another concern for the prosecutors was whether or not any potential juror harbored outrage at the taxpayer burden of expenses from the civil trial that occurred after the Dennis Fritz and Ron Williamson cases were dismissed. A lengthy discussion centered on the concept of guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the burden of proof prosecution must achieve.

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