Archive for Thursday, February 17, 2005

Murray trial set for opening remarks

Selection process over; judge tells jurors not to discuss case

February 17, 2005


The much-anticipated trial of Kansas State University professor Thomas E. Murray is scheduled to begin this morning in Douglas County District Court with opening statements by prosecution and defense attorneys.

The trial of the 46-year-old linguistics professor -- accused of murdering his ex-wife -- comes after a nearly year-long police investigation and a three-day jury selection process that ended Wednesday morning. Ten women and five men have been chosen to hear the case, three of whom will be designated as alternates.

Jurors will be allowed to go home at night but have been ordered not to discuss the case at all -- not with spouses nor each other -- until the trial ends. They'll be allowed to take notes, because of the length of the trial, but they have been warned about the potential distraction of writing while trying to listen to testimony.

"We're asking you to do some hard things," District Court Judge Robert Fairchild told the jurors Wednesday morning.

Murray is charged with stabbing and beating his ex-wife, attorney and mediator Carmin D. Ross, in November 2003. Douglas County Sheriff's deputies found her dead with nearly 30 stab wounds and lacerations inside her home northwest of Lawrence at 1860 E. 1150 Road.

Prosecutors have subpoenaed nearly 300 people in the case, including Ross' family members and some of Murray's college students, but not all witnesses will be called to testify. The trial is expected to last until the middle or end of March.

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