BOWLING GREEN —
If the defendants are guilty, that must be proven by the evidence presented in trial, McKinley said. Evidence in a case only includes witness testimony and exhibits presented during the proceedings. No other factors, including media coverage a juror has heard or anything the lawyers say or do during the trial should have an impact, McKinley said. Attorneys' arguments are not legal evidence.
Along those lines, the judge said jurors must also refrain from forming an opinion about a defendant's guilt until the end of the trial.
"You just have to try to keep an open mind until you hear all the evidence," McKinley said.
Evidence can be direct or circumstantial, he said, and it is up to each juror to decide how much weight he or she will give each individual piece of evidence.
About six jurors were removed early in the proceeding due to close ties to one of the defendants. The rest of the jurors were asked a series of questions by McKinley, the prosecutors and defense attorneys. Juror candidates were asked about their feelings toward law enforcement, the criminal justice system, people who have affairs, civil rights and methamphetamine.
They were given names of witnesses to determine if they had any connections.
The jurors were also reminded that the three men on trial are being tried separately, and their individual charges are separate, so some defendants can be found guilty of some charges; it's not an "all or nothing," Butler said. “You are charged by the court to judge each of them individually."
At the end of the attorneys' questioning, the remaining 46 juror numbers were put into a box and a courtroom deputy selected 33 random numbers from the box. With those 33 names, prosecutors were given seven strikes and the defense attorneys given a combined 12, to shrink the final jury roster to 14. Two of the jurors are alternates, but they will not be told they are alternates.