Could Have Been Me

Steve Pokin: Faced with horrifying scene, jury shows resilience in murder trial:

On Wednesday morning, it was the civic duty of the 12 women and two men in the jury box to look closely at photos of the body of Barbara Foster, who was run over and killed on Nov. 20, 2018.

(Fourteen are in the box because only the judge knows who the two alternates are.)

Deiter Duff, the Greene County medical examiner, calmly used words to describe the pictures, which revealed far more than could ever be said in even a 1,000 grisly words.

. . . .

Years ago, when I was a reporter in Southern California, I wrote a story that had the headline: The Jurors’ Trial.

I went back in old court records and found the names of jurors who had served in three or four of the most grisly and/or disturbing murder trials in our coverage area over the past 25 years.

One of the murder victims was a little girl who was assaulted and then strangled with the shoe laces from her tennis shoes. That’s how she was found. That’s the photo the jurors saw.

I wanted to know: Did they still remember the details of the trial? Ten years later? Twenty years later? Would they remember it for the rest of their lives?

Unanimously, of course, they did remember.

They remembered the photos. And the nights they couldn’t sleep because of those photos.

They remembered how random violence and depravity can be.

I was summoned for jury duty this week, but I was excused because I had to make two round trips to Rolla (at $70 gas per) to deposit and withdraw my son from a robotics camp at Missouri University of Science & Technology.

Which is just as well. I don’t know how impartial I could be as a jurist listening to experts saying that cough syrup made her do it.

I get the sense I would do better on civil trials.

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