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Jury selection continues in Martin MacNeill trial

NEED TO KNOW
  • Doctor is accused of using medical know-how to kill his wife
  • Jury selection in Dr. Martin MacNeill's murder trial began Tuesday, may wrap up today
Jury selection continues in Martin MacNeill trial

Martin MacNeill case: Background on the key players

Martin MacNeill case: Background on the key players

Martin MacNeill murder trial: What you need to know!

Martin MacNeill murder trial: What you need to know!

Hear Dr. MacNeill's 911 call for help

Hear Dr. MacNeill's 911 call for help

Jury selection resumed Wednesday morning in the trial of a Utah doctor accused of using his medical know-how to kill his wife.

Prosecutors say Martin MacNeill drugged then drowned his wife, Michele MacNeill, as she recuperated from a face-lift on April 11, 2007. The doctor has pleaded not guilty, and his attorneys have told reporters that their client is looking forward to the chance to prove his innocence.

If convicted of murder, Martin MacNeill could spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Read more: What really killed Michele MacNeill?

Judge Derek Pullan began the proceedings Tuesday by addressing some outstanding issues with attorneys, including whether the mental health records of MacNeill’s daughter Rachel MacNeill -- who testified in a preliminary hearing in 2012 that she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder -- will be released for the defense to use during the trial, and whether to grant a defense motion to exclude two prosecution toxicology experts from testifying.

Pullan said he was persuaded that the defense has a good argument that there is evidence in Rachel MacNeill’s mental health records that could help their case.

It is not exactly clear how the medical records could help the defense. However, he said he would rule on that issue later after conducting a hearing in his chambers to determine whether the records will be admissible.

Pullan said he will also rule on the defense’s motion on whether to exclude the toxicologists’ testimony later, as well. If allowed to testify, the toxicologists are expected to say that the combination of drugs found in Michele’s blood could have been lethal. The defense is objecting to their testimony because they say the methods of analysis used are not generally accepted in the field.

Read more: MacNeill's daughter says her father killed her mother

Attorneys interviewed 38 prospective jurors Tuesday, less than the 60 that the judge anticipated would be questioned. About 70 jurors from the pool of 110 jurors who filled out questionnaires earlier this month will return for individual questioning Wednesday, which will take place in judge’s chambers.

Pullan’s decision to question the potential jurors behind closed doors means that the media is not able to witness a large part of the process of picking the jury, and may not know much about the makeup of the panel.

Defense Attorneys told CNN Correspondent Jean Casarez that they expect to seat a panel today. Attorneys will begin exercising their peremptory challenges once 25 jurors are qualified. Each side gets seven strikes to eliminate those jurors they do not favor. The panel will be made up of eight jurors and three alternates.

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