Jury Selection Begins in Highway Shooter Trial

Jury selection is underway in the trial of suspected Highway Shooter Charles McCoy. A large jury pool was called to decide McCoy’s guilt or innocence in a series of shootings along and near interstate Highways in Central Ohio during a five month span ending last March.

Three-hundred were summoned but fewer answered the call for jury service in the capital murder case.

Franklin County jury manager Gretchen Roberts says the prosecution and defense will have to choose twelve jurors and two alternates from a pool of 115.

Common Pleas Court judge Charles Schneider addressed the jury pool and introduced both the prosecution and defense teams. He gave a short description of the case.

Defendant Charles McCoy waived his right to appear before the jury pool. Each potential juror was asked to fill out a 20 page questionnaire with more than 100 separate questions ranging from employment background and military service to questions such as “What do you think causes young people to get into trouble? Were you raised by a single parent or by someone other than a natural parent? Another question asks Have you ever had any bad experiences with guns, such as having one pointed at you?

Potential jurors are also asked whether they belong to a union, whether they have a bumper sticker on their car and whether they’ll draw any inferences if the defendant does not take the witness stand.

Judge Schneider advised potential jurors the case could take until mid May. He admonished them against discussing the case among themselves or with others and avoiding news coverage of the trial lest one of them cause a mistrial.

Opening statements in the McCoy case are tentatively scheduled for April 20th.

Prosecutors believe he acted alone in a series of shootings at buildings and across interstate highways in Central Ohio in late 2003 and early 2004.

He was arrested in Las Vegas on March 17th of last year. In one of the shootings, 62 year old Gail Knisley of Washington Courthouse was killed as she rode in a car on the south outerbelt in Columbus.

McCoy has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. If convicted of the Knisley killing he could be sentenced to death. Defense attorneys have subpoenaed more than 30 potential witnesses.

Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien says the investigators have the right man but he thinks the case will turn on “mental health issues.”

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