Jury selection leaves no alternates in Johnny Schultz retrial
PERU, Ind. (WNDU) -A 20-year-old accused of plotting to shoot up two high schools in Fulton County returns to court.
Johnny Schultz, who was just 18 when police arrested him for conspiracy to commit murder, sat in on the jury selection for his retrial that starts on Monday, Jan. 31st.
For those wondering why jury selection didn’t happen in Fulton County, where the trial will take place, there are some specific circumstances in the Hoosier State where the jury pool can come from a different county.
That’s how it went during the trial in the summer of 2021, but this time it’s more about how many jurors are available, not where they’re from.
Back in July, Fulton County Prosecutor Michael Marrs said the hung jury result came down to one juror he had concerns about when they selected the panel.
“We’re going to do everything we can, and they will too, to try and get the best jurors suitable for this case. We feel like we’ve picked a good jury and hopefully, that’s the case,” Marrs said.
That might not mean much though if any of the twelve jurors have to be excused during the course of the next week.
By the time the panel was filled, the court already exhausted all other potential jurors, leaving no one else to serve as alternates.
“We knew it was going to be a close call in terms of being able to pick a jury because Covid-19 limited the pool. So, there were 85 and we had 35 show up. Razor-thin. We got a jury. We got 12 but we weren’t able to seat an alternate,” Marrs said.
Marrs says this case will have to start all over again if any one of the twelve jurors is dismissed, similar to what happened after the hung jury result.
Schultz faces the same four of the charges from the original trial, which includes a pair of level two felonies for conspiracy to commit murder.
Since the first trial, the prosecutor’s office charged Schultz with two additional level six felonies for intimidation and possession of heroin.
“In large part it is like the first trial, just redone again with some additional evidence--good evidence we hope,” Marrs said.
Schultz’s co-defendant Donny Robins Jr. provided testimony in his first trial as part of a plea deal. He’s currently serving 8-years in prison on a 17-year sentence at the Westville Correctional Facility.
Day one of the trial starts at 9:00 AM on Monday at the Fulton County Courthouse.
Only time will tell whether we make it to deliberation or if a juror has to bow out before then.
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