Picking a jury in Harris murder trial could take up to a week

Prosecutors and defense lawyers could take a week to pick a jury in the trial of three men accused of killing former Baltimore City Councilman Kenneth N. Harris.

The selection began Thursday morning with 130 potential jurors, a pool that will be slowly whittled down to a working panel of a dozen, with two alternates. Court officials predicted the jury could be seated by next Friday.

The process is being complicated by the fact that each of the three defendants — Charles Y. McGaney, Gary A. Collins and Jerome Williams — has his own lawyer, each of whom is entitled to question jury candidates at length about their views, their personal history and whether they have any feelings about the case.

The two prosecutors — Cynthia M. Banks and Donald J. Giblin — plan to put 50 witnesses on the stand, while the three defense attorneys — Jason E. Silverstein, Jerome A. Bivens and Janice Bledsoe — have a list of 20.

Williams is 17 years old but is being tried as an adult. McGaney and Collins are both 22. On Thursday afternoon, all three, their legs shackled, hovered by the bench of retired Baltimore Circuit Judge David Ross, along with their lawyers and the prosecution team, as the jury selection process unfolded.

The three defendants face first-degree murder charges and other counts in the death of Harris, who was shot Sept. 20, 2008, as he fled from a holdup at a jazz club in the Northwood Shopping Center.


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