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7 Men, 5 Women Seated on Jury In Bombing Case

From News Services
Wednesday, April 23, 1997; Page A16
The Washington Post

Seven men and five women were selected yesterday to hear the murder case against Timothy J. McVeigh in Oklahoma City bombing, but beyond that, little is known about the anonymous jurors, whose identities have been shielded so they can avoid sequestration.

Although their names, backgrounds, attitudes and races were not disclosed, sources close to the case said the jury consisted of seven men and five women, with an alternate panel of three men and three women.

A sloping wall keeps most reporters from seeing into the jury box, but members of the public have a better view. Audience members said the panel appeared to have 16 whites and two whose race could not be determined, but who appeared to be either Hispanic or American Indian.

Jurors return Thursday to take their oath and hear opening statements as McVeigh, whose 29th birthday anniversary is today, stands trial in the worst act of terrorism on U.S. soil: 168 people died and hundreds were injured in the April 19, 1995, truck bombing. He could face the death penalty if convicted.

Intent on preserving jurors' privacy, Judge Richard P. Matsch concocted an unusual system of identifying jurors by a letter and a number. Prosecutor Joseph Hartzler tried to make light of the system: "Like bingo, your honor."

Matsch glared at the prosecutor and said, "It's a lot more serious than a bingo game."

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