05/24/05 — Jurors picked for Lane trial

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Jurors picked for Lane trial

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on May 24, 2005 1:52 PM

Jury selection resumed today in the first-degree murder trial of Eric Glenn Lane in Wayne County Superior Court.

The 33-year-old Lane, who is representing himself, was accused of kidnapping, raping and murdering 5-year-old Precious Ebony Whitfield in 2002.

If Lane is convicted of first-degree murder, then the same jury would decide his punishment -- life in prison without parole or death.

Judge Gary Trawick of Burgaw is using the same hybrid method of jury selection that was used in the original trial that ended in a mistrial in November, 2004. He put 12 people in the jury box and asked them general questions. Then the judge asked them, one at a time, about their views on the death penalty.

Trawick asked the first 12 about their background and their knowledge of the case, pretrial publicity and possible witnesses. He excused a woman whose daughter had been molested and a Goldsboro police investigator who was familiar with the case.

Then the judge asked six jurors, one at a time, about their views on the death penalty.

One juror, the wife of a lawyer, said she could not accept that punishment. She was excused for cause. The remaining six will be questioned today.

When prosecutors accept 12 jurors, Lane will question them. He is being advised by standby lawyers Glenn Barfield of Goldsboro and Richard McNeil of Jacksonville.

McNeil and Edwin West III of Wilmington defended Lane last year. The trial was halted because of juror misconduct.

Some jurors were excused Monday for medical reasons or because of work conflicts.

From the original 300 people summoned, about 100 remain. Trawick divided them into three panels. Members of the first panel will be questioned again today. The second and third panels will be interviewed later.