Isom jury count at 10

2012-12-08T18:11:00Z 2013-09-16T17:56:05Z Isom jury count at 10By Susan Brown susan.brown@nwi.com, (219) 662-5325 nwitimes.com
December 08, 2012 6:11 pm  • 

CROWN POINT | The second week of jury selection in the Kevin Isom capital murder case saw 10 jurors seated.

The goal is 12 with five alternates to hear the case against Isom, 40, who faces multiple charges of murder and attempted murder in the 2007 slayings of his wife and two stepchildren in their Miller apartment. 

Some 404 jurors were culled from an original jury pool of 1,150 to undergo  interviews in addition to the 48-page questionnaires that kicked off the process in June.

Some 20 jurors a day are expected to be interviewed based on those questionnaires by the presiding judge, Lake Criminal Court Judge Thomas Stefaniak Jr., as well as deputy prosecuting attorneys David Urbanski and Michelle Jatkiewicz and defense attorneys Herbert Shaps and Casey McCloskey.

Also sitting in on daily proceedings is Gary police Detective James Bond, who does not participate in the interviews.

That each juror's attitude toward capital punishment is extensively questioned as mandated by both the U.S. and the Indiana supreme courts and is not meant to concede any guilt before a trial is even held, Shaps explains to each juror.

They also are questioned as to their understanding of aggravating and mitigating circumstances for the penalty phase of the trial should Isom be convicted.

Between the guilt phase and a possible penalty phase of the trial, the trial may run three to five weeks beginning Jan. 7 when jurors will be sequestered at a local hotel.

Last week, Court Administrator Martin Goldman estimated his office's total cost to date for this second round of jury selection at $18,126 and counting.

"Each day is an additional expense," he said.

The 404 jurors who attended orientation meetings in November were paid $20 plus mileage, the rate at which they are paid to attend an interview.

Based on some 100 jurors who have been interviewed, Goldman estimated the cost to date at $15,040.

That cost did not include mailing or summons costs.

"Eleven hundred and fifty questionnaires, that's a lot of money," Goldman said.

When the trial opens in January, Goldman said the jurors' rate of daily pay will jump to a flat $100 as the county will be doing the driving.

"Depending on the length of the trial, the cost could be tens of thousands of dollars," Goldman said.

That's in addition to the cost incurred during a failed round of jury selection in March, which Goldman said should be estimated at half as much, given the initial jury pool was half what it is today.

Goldman's costs are in addition to some $400,000 in defense costs through Sept. 19 and an estimated $38,000 in food and lodging based on a three-week trial.

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