Oneida County Court ready for high profile Jason D'Avolio trial

Oneida County Court will see some changes come Monday for the beginning of the high profile Jason D'Avolio trial.

Posted: Oct 16, 2020 6:31 PM
Updated: Oct 16, 2020 11:30 PM

Utica, N.Y. - The much anticipated trial of Jason D'Avolio of Rome is set to begin Monday.

He's accused of murdering his wife Kerrilee and putting her body in a dumpster in July of 2019.

It's the first high profile case in Oneida County Court since trials resumed last month.

There were changes for those trials and even more set for this one.

First, jury selection will take place in the Ceremonial Courtroom which can hold as many as 120 potential jurors in the seats during the jury selection process.

Judge Michael Dwyer says in this case, there will be a maximum of 40 potential jurors in the Ceremonial Courtroom at one time and with all of the precautions taken due to COVID, jury selection may take longer.

Judge Dwyer says once a jury is seated, the trial will resume in his court room.

He says because the 12 jurors and four alternates will have to be socially distanced, there is only room for a total of 4 family members for both the family of the victim and defendant to watch the trial in that courtroom.

So, back across the hall, in the Ceremonial Courtroom, the entire trial will be simulcast on a huge 80 inch screen tv, where everyone else can watch the proceedings live.

Judge Dwyer says one other big change, witnesses will have to wear masks when testifying, "We've tried to use the face shields but a number of the witnesses said that they just become overheated, they couldn't keep on it longer. One witness even told me that he had a headache that wouldn't go away, so we have kind of switched back to the mask. We're going to try that for this trial and hopefully it will be successful."

Judge Dwyer says exhibits presented during trial will be dealt with in a safe COVID way as well, "There won't be any handing up exhibits from the attorneys to the witnesses, everything will be done electronically. We've already had evidence hearings and we're going to socially distance right from the start to the finish of the trial. The object is a fair and impartial jury. We think we can do it and we think if we can protect each and every juror that comes into the court house."

The trial of Jason D'Avolio begins on Monday, and News Channel 2 will be in court to cover it.

The trial is expected to last between 2 1/2 to 3 weeks.

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