• Jacques jurors can be found nearby
    April 18,2013
     

    BURLINGTON — The federal judge presiding over the case of a Vermont man charged in the sexual assault and killing of his 12-year-old niece in 2008 has changed his mind about combing the entire state for prospective jurors in the man’s trial.

    Judge William Sessions III told lawyers during a pre-trial hearing Tuesday in Burlington he now believes an impartial jury for the trial of Michael Jacques can be picked from a pool of up to 5,000 people in northern Vermont.

    “The logistics would be extremely difficult for jurors coming up from Brattleboro. I’m convinced we can summon a jury from 5,000 in the northern part of the state,” Sessions said.

    Jacques, of Randolph, potentially faces the death penalty.

    He has pleaded not guilty to charges that he abducted, sexually assaulted and killed Brooke Bennett.

    Jury selection is scheduled to start Sept. 3.

    Sessions expressed concern that news coverage of the high-profile case will make picking an unbiased jury difficult, forcing the trial to be moved.

    “I thought a jury could be selected in Vermont when I denied the change of venue motion, but I wasn’t sure,” he said.

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