Day 1; Jury seated in Groves’ murder trial

 

Two defendants, Jessica Groves and her husband, Daniel Groves both stand charged with aggravated murder in the death of their son, 2-month old Dylan Groves. The pair also face numerous other counts, including charges stemming from January, 2019 through June 11th, 2019. Those charges include murder, kidnapping, child endangerment, tampering with evidence, interference with custody, gross abuse of a corpse, along with three counts of felonious assault. All charges are associated with both defendants.

Kuhn spoke with the initial pool of potential jurors by telling all thirty, “Remember, someday, you may need the service of a jury to decide a dispute of yours. Jury service is both a legal obligation as well as a civic duty. It is a sacrifice required by the American government and is necessary to continue the insured existence of our way of life.”

After the introduction of court staff, Kuhn further instructed the potential jurors by informing them, “A Judge enforces the Court’s rule and determines what evidence may be admitted. You, the jury will be the sole judges of the facts, the credibility of each witness and the weight of the given testimony. The State of Ohio and the defendants are entitled to jurors who approach this case with open minds and agree to keep those minds open until a verdict is reached. Jurors must be as closed as humanly possible to bias, prejudice or sympathy and must not be influenced by preconceived ideas either as facts or the law. Not one of you cannot perform your duty to determine whether the defendants are guilty or not guilty without concerning yourself with what happens after the verdict is read,”

Scioto County Prosecutor, Shane Tieman who is representing the State in the matters, was the next court official to address the potential jurors.

“Selecting a jury is an art rather than a science. A right juror for these particular cases is someone that can be fair, listen to all of the evidence and the instructions of the judge, then follow those instructions and come to a decision.”

Tieman also stated he believes the case will “take several days to try. I anticipate it will last to the end of the week, but you never know. My prediction is, it will take at least through this week.”

“We, as the  prosecution bear the burden of proof. We have to call the witnesses, we have to develop the evidence for the jury to hear. PLease keep in mind there are certain rules we must follow and there will be times those rules will be interpreted differently between myself and then defense counsel. We will then ask the judge to approach and ask him to decide.”

“I will promise you, right now, I will take as long as I need to try this case. So, we are asking as potential jurors that you give us and the defense your undivided attention throughout this proceeding.”

Tieman then went on to ask the pool, both collectively and individually, at times, questions regarding their impartiality as well as the influence, if any, that the attention of this case has made upon them. Of the 30 first questioned, three stated they were completely unfamiliar with the case.

In a dramatic moment, Tieman warned the prospective jurors that, “There are going to be uncomfortable moments, some ugly moments. There will be graphic photos, there will be some uncomfortable testimony. I have a job to do. That job is to prove this case to you and prove what this case is truly about.”

Christine Scott, the defense attorney representing Daniel Groves, spoke to those present in front of her, asking if they would arbitrarily take the word of law enforcement and Children’s Services workers over that of a common citizen. No one in the pool indicated they would without just cause.

“These are very, very serious charges here. I know they have been summarized on social media, the regular media, everyone has an opinion. Sometimes the media gets it right and sometimes they don’t get it right,” Scott said.

Shawn Stratton, attorney for Jessica Groves spent some of his time asking the pool about their perspective of addicts and the effect of drug use in our region.

“This case will have the topic of drug use in it and the results of drug use,” Stratton instructed. “It is our experience people either have empathy for them (drug users) or disgust. Is there anyone here that feels that way?”

Stratton also asked an interesting question-”Would you be able to distinguish between one and the other?,” referencing the two parents.”Does the fact they are a husband and wife have any impact on your decision? One or the other?”

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