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Opening statements today in murder trial

February 17, 2009

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. -- Opening statements in the jury trial of Vernon L. Kerns are expected to be offered today in Morgan County Circuit Court.

Kerns, 26, of Berkeley Springs, is one of three men charged with killing Keese Bare, 27, and burning his body in 2004.

Bare's remains were discovered in 2006 at a Potomac River campsite.

Morgan County Prosecutor Debra MH McLaughlin and Sherman L. Lambert, Kerns' attorney, will begin after 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Gina M. Groh gives instructions to the jury.

On Tuesday, the 12-member jury plus two alternate members were selected. The process began at 9 a.m. and was not complete until after 3 p.m. About 77 Morgan County residents were available as potential jurors for the trial.

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Groh told the jury if inclement weather occurs, the court goes by the Board of Education's decision to either delay school openings by two hours or close for the day. If school opens on time, court begins at 9 a.m.

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