Fifty-nine prospective jurors in the Joshua DeRosier murder trial were sworn in and instructed by Crow Wing County District Court Judge David Ten Eyck Monday.
DeRosier, 20, is accused in the Dec. 24, 2001, murders of his grandparents, Theodore Bieganek, 68, and Angeline Bieganek, 64. The Bieganeks were shot to death while in their bed in their rural Brainerd home.
A grand jury March 7 indicted DeRosier on two counts of premeditated first-degree murder, charges that carry a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Meeting with Ten Eyck, Crow Wing County Attorney Don Ryan and defense attorney Charles Halverson in the courtroom on the third floor of the Crow Wing County Courthouse, the prospective jurors were directed by Ten Eyck not to discuss the case or follow it in the media.
DeRosier appeared with Halverson in court Monday.
Ten Eyck emphasized to the prospective jurors that with his plea of not guilty on Oct. 28, DeRosier is presumed innocent and the burden of proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt is placed upon Ryan.
The prospective jurors Monday also filled out a juror questionnaire, which will be used by the attorneys and the court as a supplement to the oral examination during jury selection scheduled to begin Wednesday.
The questionnaire is made up of 91 questions that range from personal information like family, education and work to specific questions about juror's opinions of the criminal justice and court systems and the juror's ability to serve. One question asked: "Have you ever had a bumper sticker on your car? If yes, what did the bumper sticker(s) say?"
Halverson, Ryan and Ten Eyck planned to meet later Monday and today to begin going over the completed juror questionnaires for jury selection Wednesday. Ten Eyck told the prospective jurors that the trial could be between three and four weeks long.
"We're going to try to make sure this process doesn't affect your lives any more than is necessary," Ten Eyck told the jurors.
On a motion made by Ryan, the two counts of second-degree murder filed against DeRosier by the Crow Wing County Attorney's Office on Feb. 19, before he was indicted by a grand jury, were dismissed by Ten Eyck.
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