K. Ronald Bailey knows he's facing a tough decision while defending shaken baby suspect Jeffrey D. Resor he told potential jurors as much this morning in Huron County Common Pleas Court.
"One of the decisions I have to make is, 'Does Jeffrey take the stand?,'" Bailey said during jury selection.
Some jurors might say if Resor doesn't testify, "he has something to hide," he said. If the defendant does take the stand, people might think he's simply trying to "save his own skin.
"The decision is damned if I do, damned if I don't," he said.
His client, Resor, 27, formerly of 33E Bouscay Ave., is accused of shaking 10-month-old Donavan Lykins to death Feb. 24, 2007 while baby-sitting for his then-girlfriend, Gwen M. Herber. The boy died later that day at Akron Children's Hospital.
Resor has been unable to post a $1 million bond at the Huron County Jail on murder, involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment charges since April 12, 2007.
"You might look at this guy and not like him from the get-go. I need to know that," Bailey told the jurors.
Bailey encouraged the potential jurors to be honest with themselves. The defense attorney doesn't want jurors who will answer questions with what he and Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler want to hear.
"The good citizen is the one (who) reaches into their heart and looks in every nook and cranny," Bailey said.
Several people said they have small children and didn't think they could be impartial. One nurse said she has "pretty strong feelings" about shaken baby syndrome (SBS).
"I have a 1-year-old daughter and I don't know that I can be impartial," another woman said.
Bailey asked jurors about if they've had experiences with children in the hospital or had first-hand experience of youngsters who stopped breathing.
Thirty-two years ago, one woman held her baby daughter when she stopped breathing and later died.
"There was no reason she stopped breathing," she told Bailey. "You don't forget about it."
The defense attorney gave a preview for what the jurors will experience during testimony over the next two weeks, including pictures of the victim as well as of body parts taken during the autopsy. Summit County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Lisa Kohler ruled the boy's death was a homicide, adding the infant possibly died of SBS.
"I think you can see the next two weeks will be emotionally draining," said Bailey, who was concerned about people wanting to "just get over with it" after hearing a lot of testimony.
"Your sympathy is going to be with that child," he said. "Even if it's a civil case, you can't follow your sympathy."
The pool of jurors started with 50 about 9:30 a.m. Court administrator Linda Stower said Bailey and Leffler will have a chance to strike four jurors each out of the 22 who are seated to get 12 jurors and two alternates.
"This trial is expected to last two weeks, so we're seating (an) extra alternate. Things happen," Stower said.
The jury - consisting of 11 men and three women - was seated just before 4 p.m. today.