HOLLIDAYSBURG - Jurors in the Nicholas A. Horner double-homicide trial had the day off Thursday but were cautioned to avoid discussing the case or being in places where people may comment about the case.
In the past, jurors in such a high-profile case would have been sequestered, but sequestering jurors is out of vogue nationwide, Blair County President Judge Jolene G. Kopriva said Thursday. It is expensive, and the jurors are not as content in a hotel as they would be in their own homes.
The judge spoke to the jurors at length Wednesday evening at the conclusion of three days of intense testimony. The only information they should receive about the case was in the courtroom, from witnesses presented by the prosecution and defense, she stressed.
Kopriva said the Constitution requires jurors to keep an open mind about Horner's innocence or guilt until the case is put in their hands, probably by Tuesday or Wednesday. She emphasized that a defendant on trial is considered innocent until proven guilty.
Horner is charged with killing Scott Garlick, 19, of Hollidaysburg and Raymond Williams, 64, of Allegheny Township during an April 6, 2009, spree that began with the robbery of the 58th Street Subway. Horner also allegedly shot Michele Petty during the robbery. The prosecution is seeking the death penalty.
The prosecution's case against Horner, 31, an Army veteran who served three tours in Iraq, is to conclude today, Deputy District Attorneys Wade Kagarise and Jackie Bernard said.