Long jury selection seen in Carroll murder trial

January 17, 1993|By Staff Report

Jury selection in Michael C. Bryson Sr.'s capital murder trial is expected to continue until early February, Carroll State's Attorney Thomas E. Hickman said yesterday.

Of the nearly 60 potential jurors questioned since Jan. 8, 45 remain eligible for the six-week trial.

"We're really careful in a death penalty case," Mr. Hickman said. "You have to ask a whole lot of questions. There are a lot of areas you have to cover."

Mr. Bryson, 26, is charged with first-degree murder and other offenses in the shotgun killing last March 25 of Melrose hardware store owner Charles W. Therit. The killing was Carroll's only homicide last year.

Mr. Hickman is seeking the death penalty for only the third time since 1978, when capital punishment was reinstated in Maryland.

Anne Arundel Circuit Judge Warren B. Duckett Jr. called a panel of 120 potential jurors Jan. 7 and sent 33 of them home that day.

Since then, prosecutors and defense attorneys have asked almost six dozen questions of each prospective juror. By Jan. 26, they hope to have a pool of 70 potential jurors, who will be asked questions about the death penalty.

A panel of 12 and several alternates is expected by early February. After a jury is selected, Judge Duckett is expected to rule on two defense motions that argue the death penalty is unconstitutional.

Mr. Bryson was arrested last April 6 after investigators recovered a 20-gauge Stoeger shotgun that police say was used in the killing and found fingerprints matching Mr. Bryson's at the scene.

He was charged with first-degree murder, armed robbery, two counts of murder in the commission of a felony, robbery, misdemeanor theft and battery.

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