Jury is selected for Schutter trial
After a long day of questioning, a jury was selected late Tuesday for the trial of Stefan Schutter, accused of committing armed robbery in Aspen last year.
Schutter, 18, is said by police to have been one of three local teenagers who got in through the back door of the Village Market in Snowmass Village on Aug. 19, 1999, and robbed a store clerk at gunpoint.
That robbery was one of a string of robberies, burglaries and car thefts that became known as a “crime spree” by a group of a dozen local teens in August and September of last year.
Two of those believed to have been working with Schutter that night – Moses Greengrass and William “Wade” Hammond, both 19 – have accepted plea bargains from the district attorney’s office and been sent to prison for their parts in the robbery. Both young men agreed to testify against Schutter as part of their plea bargains.
The jury was sworn in by 9th Judicial District Chief Judge Thomas Ossola at about 5:30 p.m., defying predictions by courthouse observers that the jury selection process might take a day and a half and stretch into Wednesday.
Jurors were interviewed one at a time throughout the day, in an attempt to prevent one potential juror’s biases from being overheard by others and possibly contaminating the rather slim jury pool.
Prosecutor John Clune and chief defense lawyer Lisa Wayne peppered the jurors with questions about their familiarity with the case through either news accounts, or acquaintanceship with the defendant, any of the witnesses or the police involved in the case.
Judge Ossola at times overruled defense requests to reject jurors because of such acquaintanceships, pointing out that if jurors were excluded on that basis in a town the size of Aspen “it would be impossible to hold any trials at all.”
The trial of the case is scheduled to start at 8:30 this morning in the Pitkin County Courthouse, and last through Friday.
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