Covering a death penalty case - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Covering a death penalty case

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Hi, hi!  Happy Monday!  I can say that with feeling because I'm (at last) on my way home now (well, on the way back to the station, at least) from a pretty long day in Jeffersonville.  Photographer Andy and I left the station a few minutes after five this morning to make the two-hour drive for the first day of the capital murder trial of Jeffrey Weisheit.  Weisheit is accused of setting fire to his girlfriend's northern Vanderburgh County home, killing her two young children, in April 2010. 

Ahead of time, we received quite a few rules about this trial and what we, as media, were allowed to do/not do.  I've never covered a death penalty case, at least not in Indiana.  (I can't remember if I ever did when I worked in Ohio, isn't that awful?!)  I can say, it's different than other murder trials.  At least, this one is.  There is a jury pool of 225 people.  Out of that, they need 12 jurors and four alternates.  Before jurors are seated or dismissed, they are taken into what will become the jury room, three at a time, to answer questions from the State and the defense as part of the selection process (technically called "voir dire").  This process took a pretty long time, at least for the two sets of three prospective juror interviews I listened in on (which was allowed, by the way!).  The first set of three were in the room about 45 minutes.  The next three about 30 minutes or so.

By the end of the day (about 5pm EST), they had seated four jurors.  Yep… it could be a while.

On a completely unrelated note, this was actually my second 3am hour wake up in the past few days.  On Saturday, seven of us from the station went to a workshop in Frankfort, Kentucky.  Four stayed the night before in Frankfort, the rest of us drove early in the morning.  The workshop focused a lot on ways to be a better writer/storyteller.  There was some really good information for all of us, especially some of our newer reporters who are in their first jobs.  Some of the stories we watched as part of the workshop were just so well put together, something to strive for in the future!

Overall, it was a long day involving a decent bit of driving in the rain, but I'm glad we went! 

Ok, ahh, we're approaching the Morgan Avenue exit.  Almost there!  And for me, tomorrow is already my Friday!  Jumping from Monday to Friday is not a bad deal.  I'll be heading out to Ohio for a few days of vacation later this week!  Hooray! 

Have a wonderful day/afternoon/evening!

Until next time,

Erin

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