Ex­tra ju­rors seated for long Ga. sal­mo­nella trial

The Covington News - - THE WIRE -

ALBANY, Ga. (AP) — Af­ter three days of jury se­lec­tion, a panel with plenty of ex­tra mem­bers was seated Thurs­day to hear the case of three peo­ple charged in con­nec­tion with a deadly sal­mo­nella out­break traced to a south­west Ge­or­gia peanut plant five years ago.

The U.S. District Court trial of for­mer Peanut Corp. of Amer­ica owner Ste­wart Par­nell; his brother and food bro­ker, Michael Par­nell; and the peanut plant's qual­ity con­trol man­ager, Mary Wilk­er­son, is ex­pected to last at least two months. Be­cause of that time­line, the judge made sure six al­ter­nates were se­lected in ad­di­tion to the re­quired 12-mem­ber jury.

Most crim­i­nal tri­als have a cou­ple of al­ter­nates seated to fill in for any main ju­rors who are dis­missed in the mid­dle of case be­cause of ill­ness or any other rea­son. But six is an un­usu­ally large num­ber of al­ter­nates. In to­tal, 10 men and eight women were cho­sen, and they were not told which were al­ter­nates. Four of the 18 had to take seats out­side the jury box Thurs­day.

"Let's hope it's enough," Judge W. Louis Sands told at­tor­neys. "If we have a trial and no al­ter­nate is needed, it will be a true mir­a­cle."

The Par­nell broth­ers and Wilk­er­son are charged in a 76-count in­dict­ment with ship­ping tainted peanuts and cov­er­ing up lab re­sults that showed peanuts test­ing pos­i­tive for sal­mo­nella. Ste­wart Par­nell and Wilk­er­son also were charged with ob­struc­tion of jus­tice.

In 2009, au­thor­i­ties traced sal­mo­nella that killed nine peo­ple and sick­ened more than 700 to Peanut Corp.'s plant in Blakely, Ge­or­gia. The out­break prompted one of the largest food re­calls in his­tory. The dead were from Min­nesota, Ohio, Vir­ginia, Idaho and North Carolina.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.