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Jury selection underway in Christian Paterson trial
UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Christian Patterson, 40, of Augusta, dressed in a suit and tie, walked into Oneida County Court Monday morning to begin what may be a two week trial to determine his fate.
Patterson is accused of shooting and killing Oneida County Sheriff's Deputy Kurt Wyman during a standoff at his Augusta home on June 7, 2011. For that, he faces a charge of aggravated murder.
He is also charged with two counts of attempted aggravated murder for allegedly shooting at and trying to kill two other Oneida County Sheriff's Deputies during that same standoff. Those two surviving deputies are among sixteen members of the Oneida County Sheriff's Department who are scheduled to testify during this trial which is expected to last through the end of next week.
There are expected to be about seven or eight full days of testimony before the jury gets the case, so the earliest the jury would get the case would be sometime next Thursday.
Aside from the sixteen members of the Oneida County Sheriff's Department, another 30 people are expected to be called to the witness stand, including two New York State Police Officers and one Utica Police Officer. Also expected to take the stand is Shannon Secor, the longtime girlfriend of Christian Patterson. Secor claims Patterson hit her and shoved her the day before the standoff and shooting death of Deputy Wyman.
Patterson is charged with harassment for that alleged incident, and that charge is part of this trial.
The fifth and final charge Patterson faces in this trial is criminal possession of a weapon for a pistol which prosecutors say is the weapon that killed Deputy Wyman.
Oneida County Court Judge Barry Donalty told both the prosecutors and defense attorneys before jury selection began that he expects a jury to be seated by the end of the day, and if time permits, he will allow opening statements by both sides.
A pool of 100 jurors were brought in around 10 a.m. Monday morning and it took nearly two hours to weed out about 40 of them, who either felt they could not be an impartial juror in this case, or just couldn't sit in on a trial that would last about two weeks for personal reasons.
There were a number of reasons potential jurors said they didn't think they could be impartial in this case and were immediately released.
One potential juror was actually the wife of an Oneida County Sheriff's Deputy. Some other potential jurors also had relatives who were members of the Oneida County Sheriff's Department and a number of people knew Deputy Wyman personally or members of his family.
One potential juror told the judge that she worked with the defendant, Christian Patterson, at Utica College and she said she didn't think she could be impartial in this case.
A number of people were excused from jury duty for medical reasons or because prior commitments made that take place over the next two weeks couldn't be broken, including childcare issues and even some vacations that had been planned.
The actual questioning of the remaining pool of about 60 jurors began around noon today to try and find 12 jurors and three alternates who will determine the fate of Christian Patterson.