January 09, 2006

Update 2: Jury Selection Under Way in Priest Slaying


By ADAM GORLICK , 01.09.2006, 02:42 PM

Jury selection got under way Monday for the trial of a prison inmate accused of killing convicted pedophile priest John Geoghan, with some prospects expressing doubts they could be impartial in the highly publicized case.

The trial of Joseph Druce will be less about whether he beat and strangled the former Roman Catholic priest in his prison cell in August 2003 than about whether he should be held criminally responsible.

Druce's lawyer, John LaChance, has said he plans to use an insanity defense, arguing during pretrial hearings that Druce was suffering from a "major mental illness" when he killed Geoghan, one of the men at the center of the clergy sex abuse scandal.

Five jurors - three men and two woman - were seated by early Monday afternoon. About a dozen were dismissed from a potential jury pool of about 60 people.

All the would-be jurors said they'd seen some media coverage about the case, and one prospect was dismissed after she told lawyers she found it "a little hard to believe" that Druce was insane. Others were let go after conceding they could not impartially decide a case involving the slaying of a convicted child molester.

Posted by kshaw at January 9, 2006 03:38 PM