Jury Selection Continues in Becker Trial

By Trish Mehaffey and Dave Franzman

SHELL ROCK - Jury selection in the Mark Becker trial may wrap up Thursday night.

Second Judicial District Judge Stephen Carroll just announced that there will be a few more people individually questioned and then the attorneys would selection a jury. He said they wouldn't go too late but thought the rest of the jury pool might prefer to stay later tonight, so they didn't have to return Friday.

The prosecution finished their questioning after the lunch break and Susan Flander, Becker's attorney, had her opportunity. Her questions turned more serious later in the afternoon after spending a lot of time asking jurors in the Mark Becker murder case odd questions like how they organize their sock drawers.

Flander asked jurors if they had to make a decision today if Becker was guilty, what would they determine?

Some said hes guilty from what theyve read in newspapers and seen on television. Others said they havent heard any evidence yet.

Flander then asked what if the state proves Becker committed the crime, would they consider hes guilty by reason of insanity?

Some said they would need more information.

Flander was attempting to find out if a fair and impartial jury can be seated in this county. She wanted to know how much they had followed the case and how much of the pretrial publicity had affected them.

She also asked questions regarding the expert witnesses who will testify about Beckers mental condition. She asked one juror if the experts had conflicting views, could he listen to both, listen to the judges instruction and then judge their credibility.

The juror said he could.

Flander then asked if anybody had a close friend or family member with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.

Two in the panel said they had family members who had a personality disorder and suffered from bipolar disease.

Becker was diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenia, according to testimony at his competency hearing last year.
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