Yates Jury: 8 Men and 7 Women

Andrea Yates
There were 120 and now there are 15. The jury in the capital murder retrial of Andrea Yates has been selected and will hear opening statements in the case starting on Monday morning. Houston Public Radio's Jack Williams reports.

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The jury consists of 8 men and 7 women, a diverse panel that was picked after an entire day of questioning from defense attorneys, prosecutors and the judge in the case. More a process of elimination that actual choosing, both sides were able to strike 10 jurors each and others were eliminated by statements they made during the process. The panel includes three alternates. Yates attorney Wendell Odem says he's happy with the result.

"We've got a good mix of people. Unlike the last time, it's not a death qualified jury. We think that it's a diverse group with a lot of independent thinkers on it, and they're intelligent."

Yates faces life in prison if she's convicted again. A not-guilty verdict would still mean she would likely spend the rest of her life in a mental hospital, although jurors aren't allowed to be told that according to state law. Yates attorney George Parnham says it's refreshing to have a jury that's informed about mental illness.

"They had all heard about this case. They had discussed it obviously before they were chosen to be on this jury panel. They had thought about it at home and their workplace and I think that helps immensely. The message is out there."

The retrial is expected to last up to five weeks. Yates, who was in court for the jury selection process, with be held in the Harris County jail during the trial.

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Jack Williams

Director of News Programming

News Director Jack Williams has been with Houston Public Radio since August of 2000. He's also a reporter and anchor for Houston Public Radio's local All Things Considered segments...