Dennis Bauer at an Aug. 17 court hearing. (Paul Gottlieb/Peninsula Daily News)

Dennis Bauer at an Aug. 17 court hearing. (Paul Gottlieb/Peninsula Daily News)

Jury pool packs Burton center

More than 100 appear for questioning

PORT ANGELES — Jury selection began Monday in a triple-murder trial as 122 people answered questions pointing to the heart of determining Port Angeles resident Dennis Marvin Bauer’s guilt or innocence in connection with the 2018 slayings.

When they had called Clallam County Superior Court for jury duty, residents who are vaccinated against COVID-19 were told to report to the Vern Burton Community Center on Monday morning. If they are not inoculated against the coronavirus, they were told to report for a separate trial next Monday.

Potential jurors arrived to find attestation statements Monday at the Vern Burton, and they had to sign them to affirm their vaccination status. All present, including court personnel, were required to wear masks, but they did not have to socially distance.

Each member of the jury pool was given large laminated numbers that substituted for their names. A dozen — a number not including alternates — will be known by those numbers the duration of the trial after they undergo voir dire this week, French for “to speak the truth.”

Jurors who pass the suitability test will pass judgement on Bauer, a commercial floor cleaner who turns 53 today and who is charged with 17 felonies, including three counts of aggravated first-degree murder and 14 firearms-related charges.

As she spoke from a raised platform, it took Judge Lauren Erickson 17 minutes to read the charges in the cavernous gym.

“The purpose of this process is to make sure that we select a jury that is free from any outside or pre-existing bias that might interfere with the jury’s ability to fairly decide the case based on the evidence and the law that you receive in this courtroom,” she said.

Testimony is expected to begin Monday.

Fatally shot multiple times at the Bear Meadow Road home of reputed methamphetamine dealer Darrell Iverson, 57, were Iverson, who allegedly traded guns for weapons and employed Bauer, a convicted felon, as his “muscle,”according to court documents; Iverson’s son, Jordan Iverson, 27; and Jordan Iverson’s girlfriend, Tiffany May, 26. They were killed Dec. 26, 2018, and their bodies found the afternoon of New Year’s Eve.

Questions contained in a jury questionnaire agreed to by Port Angeles lawyer Karen Unger, representing Bauer, and county Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Michele Devlin include if jurors had heard of the case “commonly referred to the ‘triple homicide.’”

They were asked their source of information and if that knowledge would compromise their fairness and impartiality.

They were asked if being shown graphic videos and photographs was concerning, or if they or someone close to them had been addicted to alcohol or drugs, including prescription medication.

Did they know any of the 83 witnesses subpoenaed to appear?

And they were asked if they or someone close to them had experienced the violent death of a loved one, or been the victim of a violent crime or sex abuse.

If the answer was yes, would they prefer being questioned further in private?

The three victims were shot in an attempted robbery gone bad that was spurred on by animosity between Darrell Iverson and Bauer over Kallie Ann LeTellier, 37, who was treated like a “pet” by Iverson, according to court documents.

Evidence will be presented at the trial about LeTellier being raped, according to court documents.

LeTellier pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in May’s death. She is serving 35 years and agreed to testify against Bauer and Ryan Warren Ward, 40, Bauer’s nephew.

Ward pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree aggravated murder and 16 charges related to the theft, sale or illegal possession of firearms. He was sentenced to life without parole.

By mid-afternoon Monday, those whom Devlin and Unger agreed to strike from the jury pool for employment reasons included a chief executive officer, managers, teachers, a hospital worker, a former Sequim City Council member and a newspaper photographer.

Several who cared for family members were excluded, as were potential jurors who had purchased nonrefundable plane tickets or had medical conditions that compromised their capacity to sit as jurors.

________

Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].

Superior Court Judge Lauren Erickson presides over jury selection Monday at the Vern Burton Center in the triple-murder trial of Dennis Bauer. (Paul Gottlieb/Peninsula Daily News)

Superior Court Judge Lauren Erickson presides over jury selection Monday at the Vern Burton Center in the triple-murder trial of Dennis Bauer. (Paul Gottlieb/Peninsula Daily News)

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