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Reid takes lawyers back

September 28, 1998|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Franklin County Public Defender Robert J. Trambley and attorney Stephen D. Kulla were back defending Albert Reid Monday as jury selection began for his double-murder trial next week.

At a Sept. 4 hearing, Reid, 49, told Franklin County President Judge John R. Walker he wanted to have another lawyer appointed to represent him. When Walker refused, Reid said he would represent himself.

Walker appointed Trambley and Kulla as standby counsel. Late Friday afternoon at a pre-trial hearing, Walker asked Reid if he changed his mind.

"He didn't discuss his reasons" for taking them back, Kulla said Monday.

When Reid said Friday that he didn't want Trambley to assist in his defense, "The judge told him we were a package deal," Kulla said.

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Reid, of Biglerville, Pa., is scheduled to go on trial next Monday in the Dec. 27, 1996, deaths of his estranged wife, Carla Reid, 36, and her daughter, Deidre Moore, 14. Both were shot as they slept in their Sollenberger Road home in Hamilton Township, Pa.

Three jurors out of 24 called for jury duty were seated Monday. The selection process resumes today and could last through the week.

Trambley said each side has 20 peremptory challenges and the defense used five Monday. District Attorney John F. Nelson used six of his peremptory challenges, Trambley said.

Peremptory challenges allow either side to dismiss a potential juror without citing a reason. Kulla said each side has an unlimited number of challenges for cause, in which a reason must be cited.

Seven other jurors were dismissed for cause, Kulla said. Three were dismissed because they said they could not vote to impose the death penalty under any circumstances.

Nelson has filed notice with the court that he'll seek the death penalty if Reid is convicted of first-degree murder. If convicted, Reid's sentence would be decided in a separate penalty phase.

Kulla said another juror was dismissed because she knew Deidre Moore.

Kulla said one man was dismissed because he lost a brother in a car accident in April and said he could not view any defendant as innocent until proven guilty.

Another man said Reid's arrest for the crime would prejudice him against the defendant, according to Kulla.

He said another person was dismissed to go on vacation.

Walker asked each juror about 40 questions, including whether they had any moral or religious objections to the death penalty, and what they'd learned of the case from the media.

He also asked if they had any knowledge of Caribbean culture, or if they thought black people are more violent than white people.

Reid is a native of Jamaica.

Reid was dressed in a three-piece suit rather than the orange prison jumpsuit he has worn in previous court appearances. Walker told sheriff's deputies to tell county prison officials to make sure Reid has different clothes each day.

"You'll have a different suit every day, Mr. Reid. You'll look sharp," Walker said.

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