Jury selection continues in Dunlap murder trial
by Franklin Clark, Reporter -- fclark@cadizrecord.com
Feb 17, 2010 | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
As of Monday, at least 34 potential jurors had been asked to come back, and jury selection is expected to end Wednesday, after which the sentencing portion of the Kevin Dunlap trial can begin. As of Tuesday, the number of potential jurors inched closer to Circuit Judge C.A. “Woody” Woodall’s goal of 60.

The presentation of evidence is expected to begin Thursday, assuming the court has found 14 suitable jurors by then.

Woodall informed each potential juror about the case and asked them what, if anything, they have heard, and also asked them if they are willing to consider and enforce each potential sentence.

Woodall also asked the potential jurors about their opinion of mitigating evidence, evidence that might lead to a lesser sentence, such as environmental factors and overall mental health.

Dunlap, who plead guilty last week to 14 charges, including three capital murder charges and three capital kidnapping charges, faces five potential sentences: 20–50 years in prison, a life sentence, life with no parole or probation for at least 25 years, life without parole or probation and the death penalty.

Trigg County Commonwealth’s Attorney G.L. Ovey said that opening statements could probably be made on Thursday. James Gibson, defense attorney for Dunlap, said he thought the defense could start its case on Monday.

On Monday morning alone, only three potential jurors were asked to come back, while 10 were excused for a multitude of reasons, including two that were excused because of heart surgery before lunch was called.

Jurors were asked about their opinion of the death penalty, among other things, by both the defense and the prosecution.

Dunlap was often seen playing with his pen or rolling it around on his desk during jury selection, which began last Wednesday with roughly 120 jurors.

Hearings in the case have been held at the Livingston County Judicial Center in Smithland. Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Carrie Ovey-Wiggins earlier said that a change of venue was sought because of all of the pre-trial publicity, which she said could possibly be grounds for an appeal if Dunlap is convicted.

Kevin Dunlap, of Hopkinsville, was charged in November last year with the Wednesday, Oct. 15, murder of Kayla Elayne Williams, 17, Kortney Lan McBurney-Frensley, 14, and Ethan Zane Frensley, 5, and the attempted murder of their mother, Kristy Frensley, as well as rape, kidnapping, burglary and tampering with evidence.

According to police, Dunlap murdered the three children, raped and tried to kill the mother, left her for dead and then set the house on fire in order to destroy evidence and cover up his actions.
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