LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Casey Anthony and Amanda Knox. What do those cases have in common with Robyn Little Davis and Carol Sissy Saltzman? They were cases bases on circumstantial evidence and that's one of the big topics being discussed for those who could be on the jury for the women accused of murdering Davis's husband.
It was June 29, 2009 when investigators believe Brian Davis was murdered. His body was found in a remote area near Deatonville.
And though Davis and Saltzman are accused of second degree murder it's a circumstantial case. That is there won't be direct evidence such as someone who witnessed the murder or DNA evidence linking anyone to the murder.
That's why prosecutor Rick Bryant wants to get jurors who could convict someone on circumstantial evidence if the state meets its burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
The law says someone can be convicted on circumstantial evidence only if every reasonable hypothesis of innocence is excluded.
Another issue for the state is that conviction of second degree murder carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison. Bryant wants to make sure he gets jurors who would not have difficulty rendering a guilty verdict simply because of the severity of the penalty.
The defense is asking jurors about their use and familiarity with cell phones-- since a big part of the case is expected to deal with cell phone records.
Both prosecution and defense get to ask questions of prospective jurors as they seek to find twelve and two alternates who can be fair and impartial to both sides.
They started with 50 prospective jurors and at last word, eleven jurors had made it through questioning without being excused. But attorneys on both sides still have challenges left, which they can use to eliminate jurors for no particular reason.
Earlier, Judge David Ritchie told jurors he wasn't trying to scare or threaten them but told them how last November he jailed a juror for violating his order not to discuss the case. The woman, in Ritchie's words,spouted off about her opinions in the case to other jurors in violation of his order. That was last November and clearly the judge is trying to head off any similar problems this time.
The trial came to an abrupt halt last November when the prosecutor became ill.