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Isom murder trial jury selection begins — again

KevIsom. | Provided Photo~Sun-Times Media

Kevin Isom. | Provided Photo~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 28, 2012 6:22AM



Individual questioning of potential jurors began Monday in the death penalty murder trial of a Gary man charged with killing his wife and two stepchildren. Two had been selected by the time the proceedings concluded for the day.

Kevin Charles Isom, 46, has pleaded not guilty to three counts of murder and four counts of attempted murder in the Aug. 6, 2007, homicides at the family’s apartment in the Lakeshore Dunes complex in the Miller section of Gary. Cassandra Isom, 40, Michael Moore, 16, and Ci’Andria Cole, 13, were found dead. The attempted murder charges involve Gary police officers who authorities said were shot at as they responded to gunfire at 5708 Hemlock Ave.

Isom’s first trial ended in mistrial on March 14 because of an insufficient number of jurors. This time around, 1,150 jurors were summoned. By September, that number was whittled down to about 600 individuals after hearings on whether the potential jurors had insurmountable issues to serving on the jury, such as work-related conflicts, medical problems or family obligations.

Lake Superior Court Judge Thomas Stefaniak Jr. told prospective jurors to be brutally honest in answering his questions and those from deputy prosecutors David Urbanski and Michelle Jatkiewicz and defense attorneys Herbert Shaps and Casey McCloskey.

“There are no right or wrong answers,” Stefaniak said.

The attorneys honed in on views on the death penalty.

Prosecutors are expected to begin presenting evidence on Jan. 7, and jurors will be sequestered during the trial.

If Isom is convicted, the trial will enter a second phase in which jurors must consider whether to impose the death penalty, life in prison without parole or a term of years. Murder is punishable by 45 to 65 years in prison, and the attempted murder charges are punishable by 20 to 50 years. Stefaniak is bound by the jury’s finding.



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