Jury selection continues in Pierce double-murder trial

Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — While it is possible that opening arguments will begin today in the retrial of Michael J. Pierce on double-murder charges, it is unlikely, according to the Jefferson County prosecuting attorney.

The trial, which is expected to continue until Aug. 1, is the second for Pierce on first-degree murder charges in the killings of Pat and Janice Yarr on March 18, 2009, in a farmhouse near Lake Leland.

Pierce, 38, was convicted in 2010 of the murders of the Quilcene couple and was serving a life sentence in Walla Walla State Penitentiary when the state Court of Appeals reversed the conviction July 27 after Pierce’s attorneys successfully argued that his post-arrest statements should be repressed.

On Wednesday afternoon, Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney Scott Rosekrans said he’d hoped to begin today but that the voir dire process of jury selection most likely would continue instead.

If Pierce’s trial doesn’t begin today, then opening arguments will start Monday since Friday is reserved for other Superior Court matters, Rosekrans said.

Wednesday was the third day of jury selection in the trial, which began Monday.

Nineteen jurors have been excused for cause because they said they could not serve on the panel in a fair and impartial way.

Court Administrator Michelle Lorand said the court will attempt to seat a jury from the remaining jurors.

If the court is unable to do so, it will attempt to seat jurors from another jury panel that is waiting in reserve, she said.

Last modified: July 10. 2013 6:07PM
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