CADIZ – Over 60 prospective jurors were called early Tuesday morning for the murder trial of Matthew Dowdel. By 11:30 a.m., all 12 jurors and two alternates had been chosen.
The courtroom was packed but most represented people called for jury duty. Presiding in the courtroom was Harrison County Common Pleas Judge, T. Shawn Hervey who introduced his staff along with the sheriff’s department and the prosecution, represented by Owen Beetham and Assistant Prosecutor, Jeffrey Bruzzese.
Dowdel, facing nine felony charges sat quietly in a gray suit jacket and white shirt. Both the prosecution and defense tables were draped in black around the front and sides to hide Dowdel’s leg shackles from the jury.
After a lengthy voir dire, a process of questioning all prospective jurors in order to whittle the jury pool to 12, a jury was finally selected but not before approximately a dozen possible jurors had been excused.
One humorous exchange got a laugh from the gallery when Hervey’s wife, who was one of the prospective jurors, was sitting in the jury box while being questioned by Defense Attorney, Aaron Miller. He asked Mrs. Hervey if she could return home at night and avoid discussing the case with her husband to which the judge replied, “You asking her not to talk to me?” Mrs. Hervey was eventually excused from jury duty by the prosecution.
The trial is scheduled to resume at 1 p.m. Tuesday afternoon.