06/20/05 — Opening arguments start today in Lane trial

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Opening arguments start today in Lane trial

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on June 20, 2005 1:45 PM

Eric Lane

Opening statements were expected to be made today in the Eric Lane murder trial.

Lane, 33, is on trial for first-degree murder in the death of 5-year-old Precious Whitfield three years ago.

If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

A jury of nine women and three men will hear the case.

Jury selection has held the trial up twice. A mistrial was declared in November because of juror misconduct. When the second trial started in May, the first jury had to be dismissed because the selection process was compromised. It took several weeks to finally choose 12 jurors and three alternates acceptable to both the prosecution and the defense.

District Attorney Branny Vickory said today the presentation of evidence by the state would begin following the opening arguments by both sides.

Lane is being defended by lawyers Glenn Barfield and Richard McNeil. Barfield had asked Friday for an extra day to prepare for expert testimony but Vickory opposed the delay. Judge Gary Trawick compromised, giving the defense half a day and ordering jurors to report at 1 p.m. today.