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Archive for Sunday, October 2, 2005

Judge to seat outside jury in murder trial

October 2, 2005

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— A trial judge will go outside Forrest County to select a jury for the capital murder trial of a Kansas woman accused in the slaying of a Hattiesburg couple.

Forrest County Circuit Judge Bob Helfrich said Friday that he reached the decision because of heavy pretrial news coverage of the March 2004 deaths of Vernon Hulett, 34, and his girlfriend, Linda Heintzelman, 37.

Lisa Jo Chamberlin 32, and Roger Gillett, 30, both from Russell County, Kan., have been indicted on capital murder charges.

Authorities have said Hulett and Heintzelman were killed at their home in Hattiesburg about March 20, 2004, but their bodies were not found until March 29 inside a freezer on a farm in north central Kansas, near Luray.

While Chamberlin and Gillett were indicted as co-defendants, Helfrich agreed Friday to separate trials.

According to family members, Gillett and Chamberlin had been staying with Hulett and Heintzelman at their home during a monthlong visit in March 2004. Hulett and Gillett were cousins, and the Kansas farm is owned by Gillett's father.

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