06/06/05 — More jurors summoned in Lane trial

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More jurors summoned in Lane trial

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on June 6, 2005 1:48 PM

Questioning of a new jury pool started today in Wayne County Superior Court in the murder trial of Eric Lane.

Lane, 33, is charged with the rape and murder of 5-year-old Precious Whitfield three years ago.

Lane's first trial ended in November in a mistrial over juror misconduct. Last week, after several hundred jurors had been questioned and 12 impaneled for the second trial, Judge Gary Trawick ordered lawyers to start all over again. Trawick said the juror selection process had been compromised because both sides knew the order in which jurors would be questioned.

A new pool of 400 jurors was to report this week. Some were notified by summonses delivered over the weekend by sheriff's deputies.

Lane, who has been representing himself in court, decided last week to use the court-appointed lawyers he had previously said he did not want to use -- Glenn Barfield and Richard McNeil.

Lane could face the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder. The same jury would decide his fate.

Cpl. Ron Coulter of the sheriff's office, supervises the warrant squad was one of the officers who delivered summonses over the weekend. He said most people took the news well.

"People were very understanding, even the ones I served Sunday," Coulter said. "Some did express some things, but I told them they had to come to court."

Coulter, who supervises the warrant squad, estimated that as many as 300 potential jurors had been served with summonses by this morning.

Trawick had ordered that 200 people be summoned to court today and 200 more on Wednesday. The deputies tried to serve all 400 over the weekend.

Coulter said about 50 summonses had incorrect addresses or the residents had moved. Another 25 will be served today and another 25 on Wednesday. He said many people may have been out of town for the weekend.

"I think we did pretty good," he said.