Jury selection begins in Bethune murder trial - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Jury selection begins in Bethune murder trial

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MURPHYSBORO, Ill. - Jury selection starts in the case of a man charged with murdering a SIU student in 2014: Gaege Bethune faces first-degree murder charges. 

Attorneys spent hours Monday figuring out if they could find an unbiased jury in Jackson County, and they did. All twelve jurors were seated by 5:30 p.m.

That's notable because the defense wants to take the trial out of Jackson County, claiming everyone in the area is biased against Bethune.

Bethune's attorney, Mike Wepsiec, even went through Sunday's issue of The Southern Illinoisan, specifically their front-page article detailing the timeline of the case, "The immediacy of this article on the eve of the trial makes it very offensive," Wepsiec said.

Special Prosecutor David Robinson disagreed, saying the reach of the story goes beyond this area.

"Everything is online," Robinson said.

Bethune is accused of causing injuries to Pravin Varughese, injuries which eventually led to his death in February of 2014.  

The judge asked each juror if he/she had heard of the case. More than half said they had, but only a few were excused because they said they already formed an opinion.

The judge also went over the names of potential witnesses in this case with the jurors Monday.

65 people could testify, and attorneys expect the trial to run until next week, and possibly later.

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