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Jury to be seated in murder trial by mid-morning Wednesday

Posted: May 22, 2013 - 12:01am

Jury selection continued Tuesday in the trial against the 24-year-old Juneau man accused of murder and manslaughter in connection with the death of his 4-month-old baby.

The presiding judge, Juneau Superior Court Judge Philip Pallenberg, said he expects the jury to be seated by mid-morning Wednesday allowing the trial to begin.

Seventy prospective jurors were summoned Monday, and an additional pool of 50 jurors were brought in Tuesday as “reinforcements.” Pallenberg ended up dismissing the second pool at the end of the day, saying 70 prospective jurors was plenty.

“I would much rather have too many jurors summoned than not enough,” he explained.

About 13 jurors were dismissed without cause during peremptory challenges, wherein attorneys don’t have to provide an explanation as to why the juror is being dismissed.

Another 17 were dismissed for cause, which means attorneys thought the juror could not overcome biases, knew a witness or had been exposed to the case from pretrial publicity, or for a variety of other reasons.

David J. Paul is on trial accused of killing his daughter Rian Jambi Orr. Orr was found seizing on Aug. 9, 2010, and was taken to the hospital where it was discovered she had a massive brain injury. She died a week later at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Prosecutors charged Paul a year after her death, saying he admitted to accidently dropping the infant and shaking her once right afterward to make her stop crying.

A judge threw out the indictment against Paul after finding Juneau police ignored Paul’s request for counsel and coerced involuntary statements from him, but the state re-indicted him in June 2012.

Paul is facing two separate counts of second-degree murder based on the state’s differing theories on how Orr died. If convicted, he could be facing up to 99 years in prison for each count, plus 20 years for manslaughter.

Fifteen jurors will be selected to hear the case. Three will serve as alternates leaving 12 jurors to decide the verdict. The trial is slated to last three or four weeks.

Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or at emily.miller@juneauempire.com.

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