Potential Jurors Take Questions In Wright Trial

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Daphne Wright


By Lou Raguse
Keloland News

Jurors are now taking questions in the selection process for the Daphne Wright murder trial. She’s the 43-year old deaf woman accused of killing Darlene VanderGiesen last year.

The 350 potential jurors have been split into groups called panels. Wednesday attorney’s began questioning the first panel of 14 jurors. They started broad about their views on things like sexual orientation and race but then got specific and questioned them individually about the death penalty.

Attorneys for murder suspect Daphne Wright began questioning potential jurors by letting them know what they could expect during the month-long trial. Public defender Jeff Larsen said they’ll likely see gruesome photographs from Darlene VanderGiesen’s autopsy and of body parts found in the Sioux Falls landfill.

Many of the jurors said that would make them uncomfortable. One man said he wouldn’t be able to stay in the room and view photographs like that. So he was excused as a juror.

Larsen pointed out that Wright is the only african american in the courtroom. He asked the all white jury panel about race. Although some acknowledged race issues have made them uncomfortable at some point in their life, all potential jurors said race won’t be a factor in how they find the verdict. Jurors answered the same way when asked questions about Wright being a lesbian.

Attorneys questioned potential jurors individually concerning their views on the death penalty. Larsen made sure potential jurors understand that not every conviction can lead to the death penalty. He said there has to be aggravating factors making the crime out of the ordinary. State’s Attorney Dave Nelson asked the potential jurors whether they could see themselves voting in favor of the death penalty if there’s a unanimous conviction. All but one of those questioned individually said they would be able to follow instructions and vote for the death penalty if the evidence warrants it.

At one point this afternoon, Nelson asked the potential jurors, knowing what they now know, who hopes to sit on this trial. Four raised their hands. Attorneys did not finish individually questioning the first panel, so that’s an indication the jury selection process could take longer than the two weeks anticipated.

(( Source: Keloland ))

5 thoughts on “Potential Jurors Take Questions In Wright Trial”

  1. Interesting that they did not ask the jurors how they felt about judging someone who is deaf — whether that person may be more likely to have other limitations besides the inability to hear. Have any of these jurors ever encountered a deaf person before, and what was the interaction like for them?

  2. Yes, interesting about that. But I think most in S.D. probably have had some encounters with deaf before because of CSD. But good quetion if it was positive or negative encounter. Sadly, she has a lot going against her in this trial. Seems everyone already thinks she is guilty. Everywhere I read on the blogs and opinions they are saying she should be executed. But she is not yet even pronounced guilty. You never know, it could be true business that she is innocent.

  3. I’m confused about the woman who was killed. Some said she was straight, others say she was Lesbian but not out to her family. Which one is it?

  4. i found it pretty mess up abt tht for one she deaf and black so all door close in her face. they not look wht really happen nor wht she tried to say , not onnce i hear tht she got inter for her in tht cout nor do i hear tht she have her right be reading to her . again i say it pretty mess up look into tht fact not tht colors on their skin….

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