Ross jury selection ongoing; 11 seated
Court convenes rare Saturday, Sunday sessions in attempt to secure more jurors
HOLLIDAYSBURG — The Blair County trial of a Hollidaysburg area man facing first-degree murder will remain on hold today while efforts continue to finish seating a jury for the capital case.
Blair County President Judge Elizabeth Doyle and attorneys involved in the pending trial of 48-year-old Paul Aaron Ross convened court on Saturday and Sunday to question more potential jurors for a trial that was supposed to start today at the Courthouse. As of Sunday night, they had seated 11 jurors for a panel to consist of 12 and four alternates.
When the panel is full, Ross’ trial is to begin.
Ross is accused of killing 26-year-old Tina S. Miller of Hollidaysburg, whose partly clad body was found June 27, 2004, in the water at Canoe Creek State Park.
State police arrested and charged Ross, who had been with Miller in the hours before her death, with first-degree murder and related charges leading to her death from strangulation and drowning.
During Saturday’s 10-hour day, two potential jurors were seated to bring the panel to nine. By Sunday night, two more were seated, making 11.
Saturday’s efforts also included scheduling prospective jurors for questioning on Sunday and Monday.
The rare Sunday session was scheduled to start at 2 p.m. and extend through early evening hours.
Those involved in scheduling, Doyle said, were instructed to offer an alternative time for prospective jurors who didn’t want to come in on Sunday.
“We are being considerate of people’s religious practices,” the judge said Saturday night.
The effort to select a jury panel to hear the Ross case started a week ago when jurors reported to the courthouse and completed questionnaires about themselves and their knowledge of the case. Additional jurors went through the same process on Tuesday and Friday.
The questioning of individual jurors started Wednesday and has continued daily. The goal is to identify a fair and impartial panel of 12 jurors and four alternates for what is predicted to be a two-week trial.
For a prospective juror to be seated, the juror has to be deemed as acceptable to the judge. The prosecution and defense attorneys each have the option of denying as many as 20 jurors from the panel.
Retired District Attorney Richard Consiglio and Assistant District Attorney Katelyn Hoover are the prosecutors in the case. Defense attorneys are Thomas M. Dickey and Thomas Hooper.
Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 814-946-7456.