Hundreds called to jury duty for county's heavy trial week

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- Residents of Buchanan County stand a better chance than usual of being called for jury duty soon.

Six jury trials -- including two high-profile murder cases -- are scheduled for the week of Sept. 16 in Buchanan County Circuit Court.

The county has already summoned 1,600 potential jurors for that week, and the number likely will increase, said Cathy Romeiser, jury administrator for Buchanan County.

Not a typical week

In a typical week, the court calls 400 to 600 potential jurors, Romeiser said.

A pool of 125 prospective jurors will be needed for the trial of 16-year-old Zacheriah Tripp, said Angie Katakis, secretary to the presiding judge of the circuit court.

Tripp is to stand trial Sept. 16 on charges of murder and kidnapping in the abduction and death of 15-year-old Sarah Beth McCoy of Easton.

Law enforcement officers found the girl's body in a Clinton County creek on Dec. 5, 2001, two days after she disappeared after getting off a school bus at her rural Buchanan County home.

Case of toddler's death

Also scheduled to start Sept. 16 is the trial of Isaiah Washington, 19, charged with second-degree murder in the death of 2-year-old Isaiah Washington Jr.

Prosecutors say the toddler's death on Oct. 26, 2001, was caused by injuries he suffered when his father allegedly kicked him up several stairs and slammed his head on a floor.

To ensure a sufficient number of jurors for the murder cases and four other trials, Romeiser said more summonses are likely to be sent out as prospective jurors are excused for such reasons as work conflicts and scheduled vacations.

Potential jurors can also be excused if they can show that they don't live in Buchanan County, are under 21, have a felony conviction or work in an emergency service job.

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